Saturday, June 15, 2019

RIP - Dave Marshall

Dave Marshall, a spare outfielder for several teams from 1968-73, passed away on June 6, 2019 at age 76. He died less than 2 days after his wife passed from an illness.

Originally signed by the Angels, after a 1-game cup of coffee with the Giants in September 1967, Marshall made the team in 1968 and was named to the Topps All-Rookie team.

He played 2 full seasons with San Francisco, and 3 with the Mets before finishing up with the Padres in 1973.

San Jose Mercury obituary

New York Liberty Voice obituary

Monday, June 10, 2019

RIP - Frank Lucchesi

Ex-Phillies' and Rangers' manager Frank Lucchesi has passed away on June 8, 2019 at age 92.

Lucchesi was an organizational foot soldier for the Phillies for almost 2 decades. He managed their minor league teams from 1956-69, progressing his way up the ladder to AAA, until accepting a demotion back to AA for 1967-68 so the Phillies could inexplicably give recently-retired Bob Skinner the triple-A reins for those 2 years, having no previous managing experience. (In 1969, Skinner proved he was useless as a major-league manager.)

Frank finally got his shot in the majors in 1970, as the Phillies revamped their team, coaching staff, and even their uniforms that year. Lucchesi was the Phillies' last manager at Connie Mack Stadium, and their first at Veterans Stadium.

After all that waiting, Frank finally had the job he wanted, but not the players, as the Phillies continued to flounder in the early 1970s. He was fired mid-season in 1972, and replaced by the GM (Paul Owens) who "wanted to see up close who could play and who couldn't".

Lucchesi also managed the Rangers from mid-1975 to mid-1977, and the Cubs for the final 2 dozen games of 1987.

Philadelphia Inquirer obituary

SABR biography

Monday, May 27, 2019

RIP - Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner, a 1B-OF for the Dodgers, Cubs, and Red Sox, passed away on May 27, 2019 at age 69.

Buckner was a 4-decade player by virtue of his one pinch-hitting appearance on 9/21/69. (His next game was the following April.) He played until the end of May 1990.

Buckner played for the Dodgers (1969-76), Cubs (1977-84), and Red Sox (1984-87), then moved around to 3 other teams (Angels, Royals, Red Sox) in his final 2 1/2 seasons.

He was an All-Star in 1981, and led the NL in batting in 1980 with a .324 average. He also topped .300 six other times and hit .299 another year. Buckner also had 100+ RBI in '82, '85, and '86.

Despite all that hitting prowess, the first thing most people remember is his defensive miscue in the 1986 World Series.

After his playing career, Buckner moved to Idaho and entered the real estate business.

LA Times obituary

CNN obituary

Thursday, May 23, 2019

RIP - Barry Latman

Barry Latman, who pitched for the White Sox, Indians, Angels, and Astros from 1957 to 1967, passed away on April 28, 2019 at age 82.

Latman's longest stay with one team was with the Indians from 1960-63. In 1961 he won a career-best 13 games and made his only All-Star team.

In December 1963 he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels with 1st baseman Joe Adcock for slugging outfielder Leon Wagner.

(no obituary found)

Another blog notice

SABR biography

Thursday, May 2, 2019

RIP - Gene Stephens

Gene Stephens, an outfielder for the Red Sox and others, passed away on April 27, 2019 at age 86.

Stephens played for the Red Sox from 1952-53 and 1955-60, then made brief stops with the Orioles, Athletics, and White Sox from 1960 to 1964.

Gene was primarily a left fielder, playing there for much of 1953 while Ted Williams was over in Korea. He was Williams' backup from 1955-59.

Stephens was the only player in the 1900s to have 3 hits in the same inning, accomplishing that in 1953. (Johnny Damon matched that record in 2003.)


Monday, April 1, 2019

RIP - Jim Holt

Jim Holt, an outfielder for the Twins and Athletics from 1968-1976, passed away on March 29, 2019 at age 74.

After serving in Vietnam, Holt played for the Twins for parts of '68, '69, '72, and '74, and all of 1970-71 and 1973. He was a starting outfielder in '71 and '73.

Holt was traded to the Athletics in August 1974, and played the rest of that season and 1975 for the A's, including appearing in the 1974 World Series.

He played most of 1976 in the minors, only appearing in 4 games for Oakland, then played in Mexico during 1977.

Minneapolis Star Tribune obituary

Monday, March 4, 2019

RIP - Johnny Romano

Johnny Romano, the Indians' starting catcher from 1960-64, passed away on March 4, 2019 at age 84.

Romano was the White Sox' backup catcher in his rookie season (1959), then was traded to the Indians that winter in the deal that returned Minnie Minoso to the Sox.

Johnny was the Tribe's backstop for the next five seasons, and made all 4 All-Star teams picked during 1961-62.

He returned to the Pale Hose after the 1964 season in a 3-team mega-deal, and was their regular catcher for the next 2 seasons.

He played for the Cardinals briefly in his final season (1967).

Upon retirement, he held the Indians' team records for catchers with most career home runs (91), most home runs in a season (25) and most RBIs in a season (81). obituary

WKYC-3 TV (Cleveland) obituary

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

RIP - Joe Gibbon

Joe Gibbon, who pitched for the Pirates and Giants during the 1960s, passed away today, February 20, 2019 at age 83.

As a rookie, Gibbon pitched for the World Champion Pirates in 1960, and remained with the Bucs through the 1965 season. (He returned to the Pirates for most of '69 and all of '70).

Despite all that time in Pittsburgh, I remember him as a Giant, because that is where he pitched when I jumped aboard the MLB train.

Although he was with the Giants from 1966 through early-1969, my first Gibbon card was from 1968 (because his 1967 card was in the high-numbered series, none of which I got in 1967). So in my consciousness, 450+ players from the 1967 low numbers had a 1-year head start on Gibbon, his teammate Bill Henry, and another 60 or so players from that 7th series.

Joe finished up his career with the Reds (1971-72) and Astros (1972).

Mississippi Today obituary

The Oxford (Mississippi) Eagle obituary

Joe Gibbon's SABR page

Thursday, February 7, 2019

RIP - Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson, the only man to win the MVP in both leagues, passed away today February 7, 2019 at age 83.

(My first Frank Robinson card)

Robinson played for 21 seasons. The first 10 with the Reds, then 6 with the Orioles. He wrapped up his career with brief stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Cleveland.

Some accomplishments: 
1956 NL Rookie of the Year
14-time All-Star
2-time MVP (NL-1961, AL-1966)
1966 Triple Crown winner
Played in 5 World Series (Reds - 1, Orioles - 4)
Led his league in Runs 3 times
Hit 586 career home runs (4th place at time of retirement)
First African-American manager (Cleveland - 1975)
Managed the Indians, Giants, Orioles, and Expos/Nationals, for a total of 16 seasons.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982

When Frank came over from the Reds, he immediately provided veteran leadership for the Orioles, and kept the team loose. One of the first photos I remember seeing of him was holding "Kangaroo Court" in the clubhouse:

WBAL (Baltimore) obituary

WLWT (Cincinnati) obituary

Monday, February 4, 2019

RIP - Bob Friend

Long-time Pirates' hurler Bob Friend passed away on February 3, 2019 at age 88, in Pittsburgh.

He pitched for the Bucs from 1951 to 1965, and was a 3-time All-Star. He led the NL with 22 wins in 1958 (but also led with 19 losses in '59 and '61).

Friend was 18-12 during the Pirates' 1960 championship season, and made his final All-Star team that year. He continued in the Pirates' starting rotation through his last season in Pittsburgh ('65) at age 34.

After the '65 season, he was traded to the Yankees for reliever Pete Mikkelsen, but by mid-1966 had crossed town to play for the Mets. He retired after that season.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary

WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh) obituary

Friday, January 18, 2019

RIP - Eli Grba

Eli Grba, who pitched for the Yankees and Angels in the early 1960s. passed away on January 14, 2019 at age 84.

Grba (GUR-bah) was a reliever for the Yankees from 1959-60, then joined the expansion Los Angeles Angels in 1961.

He was the Angels' #1 pick in the expansion draft, and started the first game in franchise history. He was a starter for the Angels for 2 seasons, before finishing up his major-league career in relief in 1963.

Grba continued playing in the minor leagues through the 1967 season.

Orange County Register obituary

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

RIP - Mel Stottlemyre

Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees' pitching ace after the Whitey Ford era, passed away on January 13, 2019 at age 77.

Stottlemyre joined the Yankees in 1964, and pitched for them through the 1974 season. He was a key starter for them from 1965 through 1973.

Mel won 20 or more games three times ('65, '68, and '69), not an easy task in the late-1960s. He was also an All-Star five times from 1965-70.

After his playing career, Stottlemyre was a minor-league instructor for the Mariners from 1977-81, then spent 10 seasons (1983-92) as the Mets' pitching coach.

He moved uptown in 1996 to be the Yankees' pitching coach, remaining there through the 2005 season. In 2008, he returned to the Mariners as their pitching coach for one season.

New York Times obituary

Fox News obituary

ESPN obituary

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

RIP - Lenny Green

Lenny Green, an outfielder who played for 5 American League teams from 1957-1968, passed away on January 6, 2019, his 86th birthday.

Green's longest stretch with one team was with the Senators/Twins from 1959-1964 - also his most time as a regular player. He was the Twins' first center fielder.

He also played for the Orioles (1957-59 and '64), Angels ('64), Red Sox (1965-66), and Tigers (1967-68). His last stint as a regular player was with the Red Sox, where he started 74 games in center field in 1965.

Green began his final season (1968) in the minors, but was recalled by the Tigers in June. He only played 6 games before he was released in early-July, ending his pro career and missing the World Series by 3 months.

Detroit Free Press obituary

The Detroit News obituary

Custom card courtesy of John Hogan at the Cards That Never Were blog.