Monday, September 28, 2020

RIP - Jay Johnstone


Jay Johnstone, who played outfield for the Angels, Phillies, and other clubs from 1966-1985, passed away on September 26, 2020 at age 74, a victim of COVID-19.

Johnstone began his career with the Angels in 1966. For the first 3 years he was up and down between the Angels and their AAA club, but in 1969 Jay was the Angels' everyday center fielder. 

After the 1970 season he was traded to the White Sox, and played 2 seasons before he was released during spring training in 1973. The Athletics picked him up but he spent much of 1973 in the minors. 

The Phillies acquired him in April 1974 and finally recalled him to the majors in early-July. During the 2nd half of the season he became the Phils' regular right fielder, a job he would hold until they traded for Bake McBride in June 1977. 

During a game against the Pirates in 1975, Johnstone was playing right field. With Bucs' shortstop Frank Taveras taking a large lead off 1st base, Jay ran in and took a snap throw from catcher Johnny Oates to pick Taveras off FIRST BASE! The RIGHT FIELDER!

Johnstone's last 8 seasons were spent with the Yankees, Padres, Dodgers, and Cubs. He saw post-season action with the Phillies (1976-77), Yankees (1978), and Dodgers (1981, 85). 

He was also a broadcaster for the Yankees (1989-90) and Phillies (1992-93).

Washington Post obituary  

ESPN obituary


Monday, September 7, 2020

RIP - Lou Brock

Lou Brock, speedy outfielder for the Cardinals who led the NL in stolen bases 8 times, passed away on September 6, 2020 at age 81.

Brock was a starting outfielder for the Cubs in 1962 (CF) and 1963 (RF), then 50 games into the 1964 season he was traded to the Cardinals.

He played for the Cardinals for the next 15 1/2 years (1964-79), and was a starter every year (although he missed about half of the 1978 season). In that span, he played 2161 games in left field, 51 in right, and 4 in center.

He also played in the World Series in '64, '67, and '68.

He was a 6-time All-Star. He was a starter in his first All-Star appearance (in 1967), ending Willie Mays' long streak of starting All-Star games.

Brock led the league in stolen bases 8 times in the 9-year span from 1966-74, including a career-high 118 bases in 1974.  He twice led the league in runs scored.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary

CNN obituary

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

RIP - Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver, the 1967 NL Rookie of the Year and 3-time Cy Young winner, passed away on August 31, 2020 at age 75.

Seaver played for the Mets from 1967 to 1977, and led the team to a World Championship in 1969, while winning a career-high 25 games.

He pitched for the Reds from 1977-1982, then spent his last 4 years with the Mets, White Sox, and Red Sox.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 with 98.8 percent of the vote.

In 1967, I had cut various photos (mostly Phillies) out of the daily sports pages for a scrapbook. A few years ago, I discovered this on the back of a Willie Mays photo:

New York Post obituary

Monday, August 31, 2020

RIP - John McNamara

John McNamara, who managed 6 teams from 1969-96, passed away on July 28, 2020 at age 88.

McNamara never played major-league ball, but was a minor-league catcher from 1951-67. He was also a minor-league manager from 1959-67.

In the majors, he managed the Athletics (1969-70), Padres (1974-77), Reds (1979-82), Angels (1983-84), Red Sox (1985-88), and Indians (1990-91). His Red Sox won the AL pennant in 1986.

He was also an interim manager for the Angels for a short time in 1996.

USA Today obituary

Friday, August 28, 2020

RIP - Frank Bolling

Frank Bolling, a 2nd baseman for the Tigers and Braves, passed away on July 11, 2020 at age 88.

Bolling broke in with the Tigers in 1954, and was their starting 2nd baseman through the 1960 season.

After the season he was traded to the Braves for center fielder Bill Bruton (who had just led the NL in runs and triples), infielder Chuck Cottier, catcher Dick Brown, and pitching prospect Terry Fox.

Frank held down the 2nd base job for Milwaukee from 1961-65. In the final Braves' game in Milwaukee (Sept 1965) he hit a grand slam off of Sandy Koufax. It was the last slam surrendered by Koufax.

When the team moved to Atlanta in 1966, he shared the position with Woody Woodward, then was released after the season.

Over his 12-year career he played 12,983 innings, all at 2nd base.

ESPN obituary

Monday, August 24, 2020

RIP - Angel Hermoso

Angel "Remy" Hermoso passed away on August 21, 2020 at age 72.

He debuted at age 19 with the Braves in September 1967. Hermoso also played for the Expos in 1969 and very briefly in 1970, before resurfacing in the majors one more time with the Indians in 1974.

He played in the minors every season from 1967-73, and also in Mexico in 1975. In 1979 he made a comeback in the Inter-American League.

In 2015 he was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

RIP - Horace Clarke

Horace Clarke, the Yankees' 2nd baseman from 1967-1973, passed away on August 5, 2020 at age 81.

Clarke debuted with the Yankees in May 1965, and took over the 2nd base job with the retirement of Bobby Richardson after the 1966 season.

Clarke held that position through the end of the 1973 season, and along with Roy White and Mel Stottlemyre, bridged the gap between the great Yankee teams of the early-1960s and their mid-1970s' resurgence.

Horace lost the starting job at the start of the 1974 season to Gene Michael, who was eventually replaced by Sandy Alomar.

Clarke was shipped out to the Padres at the end of May 1974, and finished his career at the end of that season.

New York Times obituary

New York Post obituary

Thursday, July 16, 2020

RIP - Tony Taylor

Another former Phillie - This time their 1960s' 2nd baseman Tony Taylor passed away today July 16, 2020 at age 84.

Taylor played for the Phillies from 1960-71, and 74-76. He was their starting 2nd baseman from 1960 into the 1966 season.

In 1967 he primarily played 3rd base and 1st base, filling in for the injured Dick Allen and Bill White. In 1968 he manned 3rd base as Allen moved to left field following his late-1967 hand injury.

By 1970 he was primarily a pinch-hitter, as the Phillies had various youngsters playing 2B and 3B. Upon his return from the Tigers in 1974 he became the team's go-to pinch-hitter.

Following his retirement after 1976, Taylor coached for the Phillies and Marlins.

While a Phillie, Taylor lived in the town next to mine. I can remember any time our family drove through his town, I made sure to look out the window, in case Tony should happen to be strolling down the street. (Never saw him though.)

Philadelphia Inquirer obituary

NBC Sports obituary

Sunday, July 12, 2020

RIP - Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan, longtime backup catcher and bullpen coach for the Phillies, passed away on July 7, 2020 at age 78.

Ryan broke in with the Red Sox in May 1965. After 2 seasons (1966-67) as the Sox' primary catcher, he was traded to the Phillies following the 1967 World Series .

Mike platooned with Clay Dalrymple in 1968, then was the team's #1 backstop in 1969.

When the Phillies acquired Tim McCarver after the 1969 season, Ryan headed back to the bench for the next 4 seasons. His final season in Philly (1973) was Bob Boone's rookie year.

After playing for the Pirates in 1974, Ryan returned to the Phillies as a minor-league coach and manager (1975-79) and as their major-league bullpen coach from 1980-95.

Ryan was another long-time ex-Phillie who returned to coach many years for the Phils (along with John Vukovich, Bobby Wine, Tony Taylor, Ruben Amaro Sr, and Larry Bowa).

Philadelphia Inquirer obituary

Mike Ryan story

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stars of the 1960s: Pete Rose

8th in a series...

NL ROY in 1963.
NL MVP in 1973.
Topped the 200 hit mark 10 times.
Led the NL in hits 7 times.
Led the NL in batting 3 times, including a career-high .348 in 1969.
Led the NL in runs scored 4 times.
Led the NL in games played 4 times.
17-time All-Star (in 24 seasons).
Won the Gold Glove in 1969 and 1970 (surprised?)
Won the Silver Slugger in 1981.
Won 3 World Series ('75, '76, '80).

Thursday, June 18, 2020

RIP - Mike McCormick

Mike McCormick, a starting pitcher for the Giants and others from 1956-71, passed away on June 13, 2020 at age 81.

McCormick began his career with the New York Giants in 1956 at age 17, and pitched for them through their 1962 NL Championship season. He was also selected to both All-Star teams in 1960 and 1961 (4 games).

After 2 seasons each with the Orioles and Senators, he returned to the Giants in 1967, winning 22 games, the Cy Young award, and the Comeback Player of the Year award. He was in the Giants' rotation for 3 1/2 years the second time around.

McCormick also played the 2nd half of 1970 with the Yankees, and the first half of 1971 with the Royals.

New York Post obituary

San Francisco Chronicle obituary

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

RIP - John Miller

John Miller, a pitcher for the Orioles in the mid-1960s, passed away on June 5, 2020 at age 79.

Miller pitched for the Birds from mid-1965 through the end of the 1966 season, although he didn't play in the '66 World Series. (With 3 complete game shutouts in their 4-game sweep, the O's only needed 4 pitchers.)

He was the Orioles' 5th starter in 1966, but when the first four are named McNally, Palmer, Bunker, and Barber, there's not much for you to do.

He also played a few games in the '62, '63, and '67 seasons. Miller retired after playing the 1968 season in single-A ball.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

RIP - Bobby Locke

Bobby Locke, a relief pitcher for several teams in the 1960s. passed away on June 4, 2020 at age 86.

Locke pitched in the minors every season from 1953-69, except for 1957-58 (military service) and 1961 (the only year he stuck with the parent club all season).

With the Indians from 1959-61 he was a reliever and starter, but worked only out of the bullpen in later years.

After 1 game with the Cardinals in 1962, he pitched parts of '62, '63, and '64 for the Phillies, and the Reds in 1965.

His final stop was the Angels (1967-68).