Saturday, December 31, 2022

RIP - Fred Valentine

Fred Valentine, an outfielder for the Senators from 1964-1968, passed away on December 26, 2022 at age 87.
Valentine debuted with a dozen games for the Orioles in September 1959. He didn't return to the Orioles until the 2nd half of 1963, making 16 pinch-hitting appearances along with a half-dozen or so starts in right field. 
Sold to the Senators after the 1963 season, He spent 2 years on their bench, before finally getting extended playing time in 1966 and 1967, sharing CF with Don Lock and RF with Jim King in '66, and Hank Allen (CF) and Cap Peterson (RF) in '67. 
With the arrival of rookie Del Unser in 1968, Valentine was mired behind Peterson and Ed Stroud in the right field mix, and by June was traded back to the Orioles for pitcher Bruce Howard.
Except for 12 consecutive starts in late-June, Fred rode the bench in his final months as a big-leaguer, stuck behind not only Frank Robinson and Paul Blair, but also Curt Blefary, Dan Buford, and rookies Curt Motten and Dave May. 
After playing all of 1969 for the O's AAA team, Valentine played in Japan in 1970 before retiring.  

Thursday, December 22, 2022

RIP - Denny Doyle

Denny Doyle, a 2nd baseman for the Phillies, Angels, and Red Sox in the 1970s, passed away on December 21, 2022 at age 78.
Doyle debuted on Opening Day 1970, as half of the highly-touted keystone combo with fellow rookie Larry Bowa. 
That season, the Phillies expected to christen their new stadium (Veterans Stadium), but construction issues delayed that until 1971. Still, they unveiled new uniforms, a new manager (Frank Lucchesi), and a batch of new players (Doyle, Bowa, Tim McCarver, Joe Hoerner, Dick Selma, and Oscar Gamble, among others. 
Doyle was the Phils' regular 2nd baseman from 1970-1973, then was traded to the Angels in the off-season. He was the Halos' staring 2nd-sacker in 1974, but then rode the bench in 1975 until a mid-season trade to the Red Sox restored him to regular playing time. 
He played for the BoSox for 1 1/2 seasons, including the 1975 World Series vs. the Reds. 
After his playing career, Doyle ran a baseball school along with his 2 brothers, who were also MLB alumni.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

RIP - Curt Simmons

Curt Simmons, the Phillies left-handed ace during the 1950s, passed away on December 13, 2022 at age 93. He was the last living member of the 1950 NL Champion Phillies.
Simmons made his major-league debut with the Phillies in September 1947 (and was one of the last 2 players from the 1940s still active in 1967). 
Although the Phillies played in the 1950 World Series, Simmons missed the 1950 post-season and all of 1951 due to military service. He returned to Philly in 1952, and remained in the starting rotation through the 1958 season, making 3 All-Star teams during tht time. Curt saw limited action in 1959 due to a sore arm, and was released in May 1960. 
He found new life with the Cardinals, pitching 6 1/2 seasons for St. Louis, including 2 starts in the 1964 World Series. Simmons also played for the Cubs and Angels in his last 2 years, retiring after the 1967 season.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

RIP - Gaylord Perry


Gaylord Perry, who pitched for 22 seasons from 1962-83, passed away on December 1, 2022 at age 84.
Perry became a full-time starting pitcher in 1966, and remained in his team's rotation for the remainder of his career. 
He played his first 10 years with the Giants, in a rotation that included Juan Marichal and at times, Mike McCormick, Ray Sadecki, and Bobby Bolin, among others. 
Perry played for 7 other teams over the 2nd half of his career, including extended stops in Cleveland and Texas. 
He was a 5-time 20-game winner, and led the league in wins for 3 of those seasons. He also was a 2-time Cy Young Award winner, and led the AL in complete games twice. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Famous Eagle Scouts

I found a list of notable Eagle Scouts on Wikipedia. Here is a shorter list of sports figures, and others I have heard of. 
Most surprising is Albert Belle. It's not like an Eagle Scout to attempt running down trick-or-treaters with your car.
Name			Known for		Year
Ozzie Nelson		Actor/Band leader	1920
Sheldon Leonard		Actor/Director	        1923
William Hanna		Hanna-Barbera		1924
L. Ron Hubbard		Author			1924
Gerald Ford		Politician		1927
William Westmoreland    Army general		1930
Ewing Kauffman		MLB exec		1931
Robert McNamara		Politician		1932
Sam Walton		Walmart founder		1934
Lloyd Bentsen		Politician		1938
Bill Gates Sr.		B. Gates Jr father	1941
John Ehrlichman		Politician		1942
H.R. Haldeman		Politician		1942
Jim Lovell		Astronaut		1943
Ross Perot		Politician		1943
Ray Malavasi		NFL coach		1944
Neil Armstrong		Astronaut		1947
Michael Dukakis		Politician		1949
Donald Rumsfeld		Politician		1949
Jim Mora                NFL coach               1950
Roger Chaffee		Astronaut		1951
Pat Gillick		MLB exec		1951
Maxie Baughan	        NFL player		1952
Lamar Alexander		Politician		1954
James Brady		Politician		1955
Dick Gephart		Politician		1955
Tom Matte		NFL player		1955
Tom Mack		NFL player		1960
Steven Speilberg	Director		1961
Beasley Reece		NFL player		1967
John Tesh		TV / Radio		1968
Michael Moore		Director		1970
Ken Whisenhunt		NFL coach		1976
Mike Rowe		TV - Dirty Jobs		1979
Albert Belle		MLB player		1981
Zack Galifianakas	Actor			1986
Shane Victorino		MLB player		1996

Thursday, October 13, 2022

RIP - Dick Ellsworth

Dick Ellsworth, who pitched for the Cubs and others from 1958-1971, passed away on October 10, 2022 at age 82.
Ellsworth played for 13 season, the first 8 with the Cubs. After a 1 game cup of coffee in 1958, he returned to the Cubs in 1960 and was a fixture in their starting rotation for the next 7 seasons. Ellsworth won 22 games in 1963, but also lost 22 in 1966. He made the All-Star team in 1964. 
After one season (1967) with the Phillies, he played his final 4 seasons with the Red Sox, Indians, and Brewers. He was a starting pitcher until his final 2 seasons.  

Saturday, October 1, 2022

RIP - Hector Lopez

Hector Lopez, who played for the Athletics and Yankees from 1955-1966, passed away on September 29, 2022 at age 93.
Lopez made his debut with the Kansas City Athletics in May 1955, and was a regular at 3B and 2B for the next 4 seasons. 
Traded to the Yankees in May 1959, he transitioned to left field that year, replacing incumbent Norm Siebern late in the season. Lopez was the primary left fielder from 1960 to 1963, except for 1961 when Yogi Berra started almost 80 games there. 
By 1964, Lopez had been replaced by Tom Tresh, and except for manning right field for much of 1965 (in Roger Maris' absence), Hector finished out his Yankees' career as a backup outfield. 
Released after the 1966 season, he played 2 seasons with the Senators' AAA team. In 1969 he managed that team, becoming the first black manager at the triple-A level.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

RIP - Maury Wills

Maury Wills, the Dodgers' shortstop for most of the 1960s, passed away on September 19, 2022 at age 89. 
He was the 10th-oldest player still living who had a player card in the 1967 or later sets.
Wills debuted in June 1959, taking over the shortstop job from Don Zimmer. He was the Dodgers' starting shortstop through the end of the 1966 season. During that time he led the NL in stolen bases from 1960-65 (including a record 104 in 1962). He also led the league in triples in '62 and was named the MVP. 
Traded to the Pirates, he was their 3rd baseman for 2 seasons, then was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft. 
After a half-season as Montreal's shortstop, Wills returned to the Dodgers and his old starting shortstop job until he was replaced by Bill Russell in late-April 1972. Wills retired after the season. 
He famously did not have any Topps baseball cards until 1967, despite being a top-line player for 7 previous seasons.  

Monday, September 5, 2022

RIP - Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas, a slugging 1B-OF for the Angels in their first few seasons, passed away on August 31, 2022 at age 86.
My earliest recollection of Thomas was as a little-used backup with the Cubs and Astros at the end of his career, but he was a significant player earlier in the decade. 
Thomas was a regular with the Angels from 1961 to 1963. He hit 50 homers in his first 2 seasons, and made the All-Star team in 1962. 
After a power shortage in 1963, he was traded to the Red Sox in mid-1964 and regained double-digit home run totals in '64 and '65. That was his last season as a regular player. 
He bounced to the Braves, Cubs, and Astros in bench roles for 3 years, then finished up with seasons in Japan and AAA ball. 
Following his playing career, Thomas worked for the Cardinals as a minor-league coach and manager, and in the front office. He was the GM for the Phillies from 1988-97, constructing the 1993 World Series team. He later worked in the front office for the Red Sox, Astros, Brewers, and Orioles.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

RIP - Bob Locker

Bob Locker, a relief pitcher for the White Sox and others from 1965-1975, passed away on August 15, 2022 at age 84.
Locker pitched in 576 games, all in relief. His first 4 1/2 seasons were with the White Sox, where he shared the bullpen with knuckleballers Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher, among others. In 1967 he led the AL with 77 appearances. 
In June 1969 he was dealt to the Seattle Pilots. A year later the Brewers sold him to the Athletics. He pitched for Oakland for the next 2 1/2 seasons, before wrapping up with the Cubs in '73 and '75. (He missed the 1974 season due to injury.)  
In 2010 Locker created a website promoting former Players Association head Marvin Miller, in an attempt to get him voted into the Hall of Fame. Miller was inducted in 2020.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

RIP - Mike Brito

Mike Brito, a Dodgers' scout for 45 years, passed away on July 7, 2022 at age 87.
Don't know the name? Well you no doubt saw him back in the day if you've ever watched a Dodgers' game on TV. He's the guy who always had a radar gun, Panama hat, and big cigar behind the backstop. I was never a Dodgers' fan, but I saw them many times on the Game of the Week. 
Brito was the Dodgers' top scout in Mexico.  He signed Fernando Valenzuela and over 30 others.
I saw this on Twitter: “Name me another scout you recognize. Name me the second-most famous scout in baseball. You can’t.”  


Friday, July 29, 2022

RIP - Bill Burbach

Bill Burbach, who pitched briefly for the Yankees from 1969-71, passed away on July 20, 2022 at age 74.
After 4 seasons in the minors, Bill played all of 1969 with the Yankees, posting a 6-8 record in 24 starts and 7 relief appearances.
He spent most of the next 2 seasons in the minors, only playing a total of 6 games for the Yankees.
He retired after playing for the Twins' AAA team in 1972.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

RIP - Dick Schofield Sr.

Dick Schofield, a middle infielder for the Pirates, Giants, and others in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away on July 11, 2022 at age 87.
Schofield was signed by the Cardinals as a bonus baby in 1953, and spent 5+ seasons on their bench, until he was traded to the Pirates. 
His only regular playing time was from 1963-1965. He was the Pirates regular shortstop in '63 and '64, taking over for the traded Dick Groat. In 1965 Gene Alley replaced him in May, so he was traded to the Giants where he was their regular shortstop for the remainder of that season. 
He eventually moved on to the Mets, Dodgers, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Brewers, then retired after the 1971 season. 
His son Dick was the Angels' shortstop from 1983-96, and his grandson is Jayson Werth, former Phillies' and Nationals' outfielder.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

RIP - Dave Wickersham

Dave Wickersham, who pitched for 10 seasons in the 1960s, passed away on June 18, 2022 at age 86.
Wickersham began his career in 1960 with the Kansas City Athletics, and ended it in 1969 with the Kansas City Royals. In between, he pitched 4 seasons for the Tigers and 11 games for the Pirates. He was one of four players to have played for both Kansas City teams. 
He was primarily a starting pitcher from 1963-65, and a reliever in all other years.
A native of Erie, PA, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

RIP - Costen Shockley

Costen Shockley, who played briefly for the Phillies and Angels from 1964-65, passed away in his hometown of Georgetown, DE on May 30, 2022 at age 80.
He began his career in the Phillies' organization in 1961 with the Magic Valley Cowboys. Over the next 4 seasons he moved up their ladder and played in a few games for the Phillies in July 1964. 
Traded to the Angels for Bo Belinsky, he appeared in 40 games in the first half of the 1965 season. After refusing to report to the minors when sent down in mid-season, he was released.
He later coached his son's baseball team, and was inducted into three Delaware-area Halls of Fame. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

RIP - Joel Horlen

Following the deaths of Pete Ward and Tommy Davis, the White Sox alumni association took another hit on April 10, 2022 with the passing of Joel Horlen, one of their fine starting pitchers during the 2nd half of the 1960s. He was 84.
He often joined his southpaw teammate Gary Peters atop the AL ERA leader charts in the mid-1960s.
Horlen's best season was 1967. That year he led the AL in ERA (2.06) and shutouts (6), posted 19 wins, made the All-Star team, and pitched a no-hitter in September. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

RIP - Tommy Davis

Tommy Davis, who won 2 batting titles while patrolling left field for the Dodgers in the 1960s, passed away on April 3, 2022 at age 83.
After a 1-game debut in 1959, Davis played for the Dodgers for the next 7 seasons. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1960, and won the batting title in 1962 and 1963. Those 2 seasons were his only All-Star appearances. 
After the 1966 season he played for nine teams over his final ten seasons.  
With the death of Tommy Davis, 248 of the 490 players (50.6%) that appeared on a solo card in the 1967 set have passed away.  19 of the 20 managers in that set are also deceased. The Reds' Dave Bristol (only in his early-30s at the time) is still living.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

RIP - Pete Ward

Pete Ward, a 3B-OF for the White Sox in the 1960s, passed away on March 16, 2022 (the same day as Ralph Terry) at age 84.
Ward debuted with the Orioles in September 1962, then a few months later went to the White Sox as part of a 6-player deal that brought Luis Aparicio to the O's.
He played mostly 3rd base and left field for the Sox, and was one of the team's sluggers. (23 homers was more than enough for the team lead on the Go-Go Sox.)
After his first 2 years in Chicago both his power and average dropped off significantly, but he was a regular for 5 more seasons. 
He wound up his career in 1970 as a pinch-hitter and backup 1st baseman for the Yankees. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

RIP - Ralph Terry

Ralph Terry, who pitched for the Yankees and others from 1956-67, passed away on March 16, 2022 at age 86.
Terry started his career with the Yankees in 1956, then was traded to the Kansas City Athletics (where else?) in early-1957 in the deal that also sent Billy Martin westward. 
Terry returned to the Yankees 2 years later, and was a member of the starting rotation for the next 6 years. His best season was 1962, when he led the AL with 23 wins and was named to his only All-Star team. He also posted a 2-1 record in the World Series and was named the series MVP. In 1963 he led the league with 18 complete games. 
Ralph was traded to the Indians after the 1964 season, and after one season bounced to the Athletics and Mets, finishing his career in late-April 1967.  

Monday, March 7, 2022

RIP - Fred Lasher

Fred Lasher, a reliever for the Tigers and others in the late-1960s, passed away on February 27, 2022 at age 80.
Lasher played briefly for the Twins in 1963, then pitched for the Tigers for part of 1967 and all of 1968 and 1969.  He split the 1970 season between the Tigers and Indians. 
The Angels selected him in the post-1970 Rule 5 draft, but he played most of the '71 season in the minors, and only 2 games for the Angels. He was released the following spring, ending his career. 


Monday, February 14, 2022

RIP - Vic Roznovsky

1960s' journeyman catcher Vic Roznovsky passed away on January 18, 2022 at age 83.
His best season was 1965, logging career highs in games (71) and at-bats (172). The Cubs used a catching committee that season, with Chris Krug (46 starts), Ed Bailey (45), Roznovsky (44), and Dick Bertell (19). 
After the season he was dealt to the Orioles and was their 3rd-string catcher for 2 years. He played all of 1968 in the minors, then resurfaced in 1969 as the Phillies' 3rd-string backstop.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

RIP - Tom Matchick

Tom Matchick, a utility infielder for the Tigers and 4 other teams in the late-60s and early-70s, passed away on January 4, 2022 at age 78. 
Matchick broke in with Detroit in September 1967, and played all of 1968 and 1969 with the Tigers. He started 45 games at shortstop in their 1968 World Championship year, mostly over the 2nd half until center fielder Mickey Stanley famously took over in the final week of the regular season. The following year Tom started 76 games, mostly at 2B and 3B. 
He split the 1970 season between the Red Sox and the Royals, then spent the next 6 seasons in the minors, although he did play 42 games with the Brewers in '71 and 3 games with the Orioles in '72.


Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Re-cap

It's time once again for my annual year-in-review post, where I re-cap all the players who passed on during the year.
In recent years I also listed the players that appeared on my blogs that year. However, in 2021 (in addition to the deceased players) other casualties have been my blogs. I said goodbye to my '63, '65, and '66 set blogs in January, having exhausted the players I wanted to post there. My other blogs have been spotty at best this past year. 
It's a combination of running out of players, and running out of the desire to blog. The '67 player list has been completed, with only a review of the Mets team remaining, and any other ad hoc topic that comes to me. The '68 to '70 set blogs are near the end (player-wise) as well, with mostly league leaders and other non-player-specific topics still on my to-do list. 
It's been a good 12-year run for me. I still read other blogs at least weekly, and will probably post occasionally on my 60s, '68, '69, and '70 blogs. Happy New Year to everyone! 
1960s' players who left us in 2021: 
And from outside the baseball world: 
Gerry Marsden
Tanya Roberts
Gregory Sierra
Siegfried Fischbacher (Siegfreid & Roy)
Phil Spector
James Purify
Larry King
Cloris Leachman
Cicely Tyson
Dustin Diamond
Christopher Plummer
Leon Spinks
Mary Wilson (Supremes)
Chick Corea
Rush Limbaugh
Roger Mudd
Marvin Hagler
Yaphet Kotto
Elgin Baylor
George Segal
G. Gordon Liddy
Prince Philip
Walter Mondale
Michael Collins (Apollo 11)
Johnny Crawford
Olympia Dukakis
Bobby Unser
Lloyd Price
Tawny Kitaen
Charles Grodin
Gavin McLeod
B.J. Thomas
Arlene Golonka
F. Lee Bailey
Clarence Williams III
Ned Beatty
Donald Rumsfeld
Jackie Mason
Tom T. Hall
Don Everly
Charlie Watts
Ed Asner
Michael Constantine
Willard Scott
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Big Daddy Graham
Norm MacDonald
Jane Powell
Sarah Dash
Tommy Kirk
Colin Powell
Peter Scolari
Jay Black
Mort Sahl
Dean Stockwell
Graeme Edge
Billy Hinsche
Eddie Mekka
Lee Elder
Arlene Dahl
Dave Draper
Bob Dole
Al Unser
Mike Nesmith
Desmond Tutu
John Madden
Betty White

Also: Football deaths in 2021