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.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

RIP - Jerry Buchek

Jerry Buchek, an infielder for the Cardinals and Mets in the last half of the 1960s, passed away on January 2, 2019 at age 76.

Buchek was a backup at SS and 2B for the Cardinals in 1961 and again from 1964-66. He was traded to the Mets just before the 1967 season, and started just over half the games at 2nd base that year.

In 1968, he fell to #3 on the 2nd base depth chart, and was traded back to the Cardinals after the season.

The following Spring he was flipped to the Phillies for veteran Bill White, but spent the entire 1969 season in AAA before retiring. (Hmm.. It seems Buchek would have been a better middle-infield option for the 1969 Phillies than rookie Terry Harmon!)


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Re-cap

Here are the players I featured in 2018:

1960s' players who left us in 2018:

Unlike in recent years, there was no late-December flurry of departures. Only 1 (Pete Lovrich) occurred after Willie McCovey on 10/31.

And from outside the baseball world:
Jerry Van Dyke
Keith Jackson
Bradford Dillman
Dorothy Malone
Dennis Edwards
Vic Damone
Marty Allen
Billy Graham
Nanette Fabray
David Ogden Stiers
Roger Bannister
Stephen Hawking
Susan Anspach
Harry Anderson
Barbara Bush
Bruno Sammartino
Verne Troyer
Margot Kidder
Clint Walker
Anthony Bourdain
Matt "Guitar" Murphy
Tab Hunter
Charlotte Rae
Stan Mikita
Aretha Franklin
Robin Leach
John McCain
Neil Simon
Burt Reynolds
Tommy McDonald
Charles Aznevour
Jim Taylor
Stan Lee
Roy Clark
George H.W. Bush
Ken Berry (Mayberry RFD)
Nancy Wilson (jazz singer)
Penny Marshall

See also: 1965-1975 era football players who passed in 2018