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Recent Baseball Passings, 2005

Edgy DC
Aug 08 2005 10:19 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jan 06 2006 12:33 AM

Gene Mauch, 79.

Frayed Knot
Aug 08 2005 10:27 PM

I kinda lost track of Mauch somewhere along the way
I either would have guessed that he was already dead or, if living, pushing 90-something.

He seems to occupy a spot from long ago in the way back machine even though he was still managing in the late '80s.

MFS62
Aug 09 2005 07:17 AM

He was known for running his pitching staff into the ground in the failed attempt to win a pennant in 1964. But he was one of the best in-game managers of his era. He was always willing to do something different.
One example: When Jim Bunning was on the Pirates, the Phillies couldn't buy a run off him. He would consistently pitch well against them.
One day, Mauch had the first four batters bunt for hits against him. Bunning was so shocked by seeing the bases loaded and a run in that he grooved one to the next batter. From that game on, the Phillies handled him pretty well. Mauch had gotten inside his head and taken him out of his comfort zone.

Later

TheOldMole
Aug 09 2005 08:29 AM

Wonder if this says anything about Bunning as a senator.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 09 2005 08:49 AM

I don't recall if we acknowledged the passing of Mickey Owen anywhere in this forum.

Edgy DC
Aug 09 2005 09:58 AM

Didn't know he did pass. Do you have an obit to link to?

Frayed Knot
Aug 09 2005 10:00 AM

Yeah, it was about a month ago that he passed like a pitch in the World Seri ...

oh never mind.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 11 2005 02:06 PM
Mickey Owen

I found this on the San Francisco Chronicle's web site, although it's from the New York Times.


MICKEY OWEN: 1916-2005
Series goof didn't haunt catcher
Richard Goldstein, New York Times
Sunday, July 17, 2005


Mickey Owen maintained that he was not bothered by the barbs over his famous World Series miscue. As he put it long afterward, "I would've been completely forgotten if I hadn't missed that pitch."

Owen, the Brooklyn Dodger catcher remembered for a misadventure in the 1941 World Series that propelled the Yankees to the championship and overshadowed his All-Star career, died Wednesday at a nursing home in Mount Vernon, Mo. He was 89.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer's disease, his son, Charles, said.

Owen played for 13 seasons in the major leagues and was an outstanding catcher with a strong, accurate arm. But he has been linked in baseball history with figures like Fred Merkle, Ralph Branca and Bill Buckner, all outstanding players defined by a single moment of misfortune.

On the afternoon of Oct. 5, 1941, the Yankees were trailing the Dodgers, 4-3, at Ebbets Field in Game 4 of the World Series and were down to their final out with Brooklyn about to tie the Series at two games apiece. Tommy Henrich, the Yankees' star outfielder, was at the plate facing the ace reliever Hugh Casey, with nobody on base and a full count.

Casey threw a pitch that broke sharply, and Henrich swung and missed. The home-plate umpire, Larry Goetz, signaled a strikeout and the game was seemingly over.

But the pitch hit the heel of Owen's glove and skipped away for a passed ball. As Owen chased the ball near the Dodgers' dugout, Henrich raced to first base. Joe DiMaggio followed with a single to left, then Charlie Keller hit a ball high off the right-field screen, scoring Henrich and DiMaggio and giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead.

After Bill Dickey walked, Joe Gordon doubled to make the score 7-4. The Dodgers went down quickly in the ninth, and the Yankees had a lead of three games to one. They captured the World Series the next day, inspiring the enduring headline in The Brooklyn Eagle, "Wait Till Next Year."

Vindication was a long time coming for the Dodgers, who lost to the Yankees four more times in the World Series before defeating them in 1955 for their only championship in Brooklyn.

Owen dismissed speculation that Casey's fateful delivery was a spitball.

"Casey had two kinds of curveballs," he told Dave Anderson of The New York Times in 1988. "One was an overhand curve that broke big. The other one was like a slider, it broke sharp and quick. But we had the same sign for either one. He just threw whichever one was working best. When we got to 3 and 2 on Tommy, I called for the curveball. I was looking for the quick curve he had been throwing all along. But he threw the overhand curve, and it really broke big, in and down. Tommy missed it by six inches."

As Henrich remembered the moment: "As soon as I missed it, I looked around to see where the ball was. It fooled me so much, I figured maybe it fooled Mickey, too. And it did."

Owen feared he would be a pariah for Brooklyn fans, but he was evidently forgiven. "I got about 4,000 wires and letters," he told W.C. Heinz in The Saturday Evening Post on the 25th anniversary of the passed ball. "I had offers of jobs and proposals of marriage. Some girls sent their pictures in bathing suits, and my wife tore them up."

Arnold Malcolm Owen, a native of Nixa, Mo., made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937 and was traded to the Dodgers before the 1941 season. He handled 476 consecutive chances without an error in 1941, setting a single-season National League record for catchers, and he was an All- Star for four consecutive years before entering the Navy early in 1945.

After leaving military service, Owen jumped to the Mexican League in 1946 and was among more than a dozen major leaguers suspended from organized baseball until 1949 for doing so. He later played for the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox and had a career batting average of .255.

After his playing days, he founded the Mickey Owen Baseball School in Miller, Mo., and served as sheriff of Greene County in Missouri.

MFS62
Aug 11 2005 03:24 PM
Double Duty Radcliffe

Negro League player.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-08-11-radcliffe-obit_x.htm

Later

soupcan
Aug 11 2005 03:32 PM

He doesn't rate a name MFS?

Why didn't you just write 'old black guy dies'?

Willets Point
Aug 11 2005 03:38 PM

"Double Duty" Radcliffe, what a great nickname!

I wonder who takes the title of oldest living baseball player now?

Edgy DC
Aug 11 2005 03:39 PM
Edited 2 time(s), most recently on Aug 11 2005 03:52 PM

Double Duty rocked.

It's not everybody who can tell a player that they're no Chief Bender.

Willets Point
Aug 11 2005 03:42 PM

A name...and a face to go with the name.


Playing days


Later days.

seawolf17
Aug 11 2005 03:49 PM

At 96, he threw one pitch for the Schaumberg Flyers in the Northern League. Man, that must be one crazy league.

MFS62
Aug 11 2005 03:58 PM

Friends of mine heard him speak at a Washinbgton DC baseball dinner a few years ago, and said he was a great story teller. His mind was still good.

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 17 2005 10:18 AM

One of the Mauch memories had Jerry Grote leaning over the Phillies dugout to make a catch and missing it when Mauch --- legally, but unsportingly --- swatted at his glove.

Edgy DC
Sep 28 2005 04:24 PM

Joe Bauman, 83, Who Hit 72 Homers as Minor Leaguer, Dies

By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
Published: September 22, 2005

Joe Bauman, who hit 72 home runs in 1954 playing for a minor league team in Roswell, N.M., setting a single-season record for professional baseball that stood for nearly half a century, died Tuesday at a hospital in Roswell. He was 83.
The cause was pneumonia, which developed after he incurred a broken pelvis in a fall last month at a ceremony naming a Roswell ballpark for him, his sister-in-law, Mary Ramsey, said.

He was a career minor leaguer who never envisioned reaching the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, figuring he would make out just fine running a gas station in the years to come. But at age 32, Bauman, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound, left-handed-hitting first baseman, produced one of the most spectacular seasons at the plate in baseball history. He became the biggest celebrity in Roswell since aliens supposedly emerged from a flying saucer near the town in 1947, spawning an enduring saga of American pop culture.

Appearing in 138 games for the 1954 Roswell Rockets of the Class C Longhorn League, one rung above the minors' lowest level then, Bauman not only hit 72 homers but also batted .400, drove in 224 runs and drew 150 walks.

Playing home games at Roswell's Park Field, Bauman took aim at a 10-foot-high right-field fence, 329 feet down the line, driving baseballs into a rodeo grounds when he wasn't pumping gas at Joe Bauman's Texaco Service in town.

His single-season home-run record for all of organized baseball endured until Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs for the San Francisco Giants in 2001. "I never thought it'd last this long," The Associated Press quoted Bauman as saying then. "I was watching on TV when Barry Bonds hit that last one. It didn't bother me or anything. I just thought, 'There goes my record.' "

Bauman, who grew up in Oklahoma City, made his minor league debut in 1941. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he alternated between the minors and semipro ball and played for a time in the Boston Braves' organization.

"There was thousands of minor leaguers then," Bauman once told The Los Angeles Times, "and we knew most of us would never get to the big leagues. Some were bitter, some were philosophical and accepted it, using the minor leagues to get into doors that might have been closed otherwise."

Bauman retired during the 1956 season, having hit 337 home runs in his nine-year minor league career, spent mostly in low-level leagues. He settled in Roswell, running his gas station and serving as a manager for a beer distributorship.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy.

"It was easy to hit balls out here, in a sense," Bauman told Bart Ripp in recalling his 72-home-run season in the 1980 journal of the Society for American Baseball Research. "The ball carries so good here. Plus, we got a free ham for every home run. We had the best-fed ball club in the country."

Willets Point
Sep 28 2005 05:07 PM

I bet that homer record was alien-aided.

Edgy DC
Sep 28 2005 08:40 PM

Bill James wrote a lot about that guy. That whole team was full of powermongers.

Zvon
Sep 28 2005 08:44 PM

Willets Point wrote:
I bet that homer record was alien-aided.


HA!.
So you watched The X Files too,lol.

That was such a great episode.

Edgy DC
Oct 04 2005 03:37 PM

Former all-star outfielder Pat Kelly, 61, who played for five teams during a 15-year major-league career, died Sunday of a heart attack.

The Philadelphia native was selected to play in the 1973 All-Star Game during a season in which he hit .280 in a career-high 144 games with the Chicago White Sox. He played for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 World Series.

He also played for Minnesota, Kansas City and Cleveland.

Mr. Kelly was a minister for Lifeline Ministries in Maryland after his retirement.

Valadius
Oct 04 2005 03:59 PM

They said that this was said between Kelly and Earl Weaver:

Kelly: Don't you want me to walk with God?

Weaver: I'd rather you walk with the bases loaded.

MFS62
Oct 05 2005 09:12 AM

from rotoworld:

Mario Encarnacion, a former major leaguer who had been playing in China, was found dead Monday morning in his dormitory.
The cause of death is not yet known, but investigators said his room had not been broken into and that a post-mortem examination found no signs of external injury. Encarnacion had suffered from gastroenteritis and he was suspended for a time by the Chinese Professional Baseball League last year after testing positive for steroids. Encarnacion, 30, was once a top prospect of the A's, and he played in the majors with the Rockies in 2001 and the Cubs in 2002

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2005 09:19 AM

Damn, 30.

Coming up throught the A's system, Miguel Tejada described himself and the other prospects being in awe of Encarnacion, like he was a man playing among boys.

Turns out, he was in fact two years older than he claimed.

Valadius
Oct 05 2005 11:09 AM

They have a league in China?

I did not know that.

Edgy DC
Oct 05 2005 11:21 AM

Melvin Mora played in China.

I think most westerners in the league play for franchises based in Hong Kong or Taiwan.

Edgy DC
Oct 12 2005 11:16 AM

Ernest M. Bessette, former Met farmhand.

MFS62
Oct 18 2005 03:38 PM

Al Widmar also passed away on the weekend. Widmar spent almost 60 years in baseball. Imagine the stories Al could be telling over a cool one right now. I wonder if there are sports bars in Heaven?

http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051017&content_id=1253402&vkey=news_tor&fext=.jsp&c_id=tor
_________________


Later

MFS62
Oct 18 2005 04:58 PM

And Hal Lebovitz, long time writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

http://www.cleveland.com/newslogs/plaindealer/index.ssf?/mtlogs/cleve_plaindealer/archives/2005_10.html#088027

I remember when the Sporting News had a weekly article on each team by one of their beat writers. (Mole, you remember those times too?) Hal was the Cleveland regular contributor. I liked his articles.

Later

Johnny Dickshot
Oct 18 2005 05:04 PM

Ask the Ref.

I always assumed he was a referee.

DocTee
Oct 18 2005 10:27 PM

Longtime Oakland A's radio announcer Bill King passed today...

Frayed Knot
Oct 18 2005 11:40 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Oct 19 2005 08:59 AM

"I remember when the Sporting News had a weekly article on each team
by one of their beat writers"


I remember that too.
It was a good introduction to my young self to writers like Joe Falls out
of Detroit and the like.

I recently followed a link off of something and got myself a free subscription
to The Sporting News which I hadn't seen in several years.
What I've discovered - in addition to the fact that they've gone from being
"The Bible of Baseball" to a magazine that barely cares about baseball -
is that it's frickin awful. I'm getting it for free and feel like I'm being over-charged.

Edgy DC
Oct 18 2005 11:44 PM

Family-owned paper for decades and decades. Sold to a corporation. Turns to cuh-rap.

Have we yet reached the point where the market for sports news for the sake of fantasy leagues is more valuable than sporting news for the sake of real leagues?

metirish
Oct 18 2005 11:48 PM

Frayed Knot I think FOX now owns The Sporting News, that could be why it has changed for the worse,I could be wrong on that but when you go to foxsports they have some of the same content....

Frayed Knot
Oct 19 2005 12:25 AM

"Have we yet reached the point where the market for sports news for
the sake of fantasy leagues is more valuable than sporting news for the
sake of real leagues?"


I haven't but 'The Sporting News' apparantly has.
They're very fantasy oriented and has almost none of the journalism
that MFS62 mentioned earlier.

They had actually been changing for years, I just hadn't realized how far
they'd fallen until seeing these recent issues. And for a mag that once
covered only baseball, their NASCAR section is larger than their baseball
and they went about 8 or 9 consecutive issues during July & August
with nothing but football on the covers ... mag editors seem to be under
the opinion that putting baseball on the cover doesn't sell issues.


I don't think FOX owns it, they just share on-line info.

Edgy DC
Oct 19 2005 01:15 AM

How can we measure when the tipping point has passed (or has it?), that more sports journalism has been consumed in the interest of rotisserie and gambling than in the interest of the events for their own sake?

Egg_Salad_Sandwich
Oct 19 2005 12:04 PM

Didn't one of the florescent Mets from the Gary Carter deodorant commercial die last week?

MFS62
Oct 19 2005 12:13 PM

="Edgy DC"]How can we measure when the tipping point has passed (or has it?), that more sports journalism has been consumed in the interest of rotisserie and gambling than in the interest of the events for their own sake?

My personal "tipping Point" for TSN came on the day they stopped printing spring training and in-season minor league box scores. IIRC they still kept the individual city reports for a while after that. But by that time, I was no longer one of their readers. (or was the order reversed?)

There was a press release thatTSN was going to a new format to "include news of other sports". (my bold)
To me that meant that baseball would still retain prominence.
Apparentlyy, it didn't mean the same thing to them.
sigh
Publisher JG Taylor Spink must be whirling in his grave.

Later

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 19 2005 12:27 PM

I thought of The Sporting News this week when my wife and my sister were both complaining about the "new improved" TV Guide.

I first encountered TSN in 1976 and I loved it. I had about ten years remaining on my subscription when, in 1991 or 1992, they had their radical format change. I cancelled after about two or three issues of that crap, and got a hefty refund from them.

seawolf17
Oct 31 2005 05:34 AM

I was looking up Al Lopez this morning, and on the main page of [url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/]b-r.com[/url], they list 1963 Met Don Rowe as "in memoriam." Anyone?

TheOldMole
Oct 31 2005 07:32 AM

MFS -- I had a subscription to the Sporting News when I was a kid. Those were in the innocent days when it was a Baseball paper, and they had Willard Mullin cartoons, and we didn't yet know that J. G. Taylor Spink would turn out to be a fink for management.

Edgy DC
Oct 31 2005 07:56 AM

I don't see anything for Rowe in the usual news sources. Even with that bb-r.com citation, his personal page there doesn't show him as having passed.

Yancy Street Gang
Oct 31 2005 10:08 AM

seawolf17 wrote:
I was looking up Al Lopez this morning, and on the main page of [url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/]b-r.com[/url], they list 1963 Met Don Rowe as "in memoriam." Anyone?


He had a recent unexplained surge on the UMDB. Maybe he did die, and we didn't hear about it. Usually in cases like this a visitor usually tips me off, but I haven't heard a thing.

sharpie
Oct 31 2005 10:13 AM

]He had a recent unexplained surge on the UMDB


Well, he was the "unusually popular Met"

Edgy DC
Oct 31 2005 11:01 AM

Now that was Billy Wynne.

sharpie
Oct 31 2005 11:06 AM

Of course, that's right. Don Rowe was the guy who had the Met record of most games in a season without a decision until Jaime Cerda stole that crown away from him.

Yancy Street Gang
Nov 01 2005 09:20 AM

I received this in an e-mail this morning:



Donald Howard Rowe
Born: April 3, 1936 in Brawley, Calif.
Died: Oct. 15, 2005 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Debut: 1963 | Pos: P
H: 6' | W: 180 | B: L | T: L


Yr W L G SV IP SO ERA
1 0 0 26 0 54.2 27 4.28

Don Rowe, who pitched a season in the major
leagues and later worked as a pitching coach,
died on Oct. 15, 2005 in Newport Beach, Calif. He
was 70. He had been battling Parkinson's disease.

Rowe made his major league debut in 1963 at 27
years old. He pitched 54.2 innings in his only
season in the majors and posted a 4.28 ERA. He
pitched in 26 games and recorded no decisions.

According to his obituary, he spent 14 seasons in
the minor leagues. In 1988, he was a pitching
coach for the Chicago White Sox for a year.

After leaving baseball, he worked as a baseball
coach and teacher at Golden West College in
Huntington Beach. In 1982, he worked as a
pitching coach in the Angels' system. He returned
to Golden West briefly and then went to work in
the Brewers' farm system as a pitching coach
before moving to the Giants' organization.

He returned to the majors in 1990 as the pitching
coach for Milwaukee.

Yancy Street Gang
Nov 01 2005 09:23 AM

And I found this as independent confirmation:


http://gwc.info/bulletins/DonRowe.html

Former GWC Coach Rowe Passes Away

Longtime Golden West Rustler coach Don Rowe, 69, passed away Saturday at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach. Rowe, who suffered from Parkinsonís disease had been battling pneumonia for over a week. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, his daughter and his granddaughter.

Rowe was a charter faculty member, hired in August of 1966. Prior to that, Rowe enjoyed a brief major league baseball career with the New York Mets. A lifelong baseball enthusiast, Rowe pitched for Casey Stengelís Mets as a 27-year-old left-hander in 1963. He appeared in 26 games that year.

At Golden West Rowe was the schoolís tennis coach and the football teamís defensive assistant for the first 25 years of the Rustlerís storied history. He also assisted with the GWC baseball team before and after returning to Major League Baseball.

In 1988 Rowe was the pitching coach of the Chicago White Sox, following that he held the same position with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Details for a celebration of life are yet to be announced.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 03:37 PM

"...expert in kinesiology."

seawolf17
Nov 02 2005 03:47 PM

A little help, Edgy, for those of us who don't subscribe to the OC Register.

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 03:53 PM

Coming up as you post a parody...

Edgy DC
Nov 02 2005 04:07 PM

As a player or coach, always in the game
Huntington Beach resident struck out Ted Williams in '57 and threw Hank Aaron's 299th home-run pitch.

By ROBIN HINCH
The Orange County Register



Don Rowe
Don Rowe

Born: April 3, 1935, Brawley

Died: Oct. 15, 2005, Newport Beach

Survivors: Wife, Marilyn; daughter, Katie; sister, Susie; brother, Peter; granddaughter, Kelly

Memorial service: 1 p.m. Nov. 13, Hilton Waterfront Resort, Huntington Beach. Arrangements by Neptune Society of Orange County, Costa Mesa.

Donations: Don Rowe Memorial Scholarship Fund, Golden West Foundation, Golden West College, 15744 Golden West St., Huntington Beach, CA 92647
With a career like Don Rowe's, who needs hobbies?

A college football and baseball coach who also pitched batting practice for the Dodgers and Angels, he made his living doing what many men yearn to do for sport.

When he was playing or coaching baseball, football was his hobby. When he was playing or coaching football, he trained pro baseball players who were home for the winter.

And if it hadn't been for the Parkinson's disease that slowed him down the last four years, he'd no doubt be on one field or another today.

He was 70 when he died Oct. 15.

Don was 11 when, while growing up in Vallejo, a neighbor took him to an Oakland Oaks baseball game. He came home and asked for a ball and glove.

When he was in eighth grade, the family moved to Compton, where Don excelled in sports through high school. During his first year at Compton College, he was signed to a professional baseball contract.

He played for Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets minor-league teams for 14 years, while also going to school and coaching (for Compton College and Lynwood and Pius X high schools).

He also played one year, in 1963, in the major leagues for the New York Mets and was a pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox for a year in 1988.

His education was interrupted so often it took him 13 years to finish college, but he finally got a teaching credential at Cal State Long Beach.

When his baseball career as a player came to an end in 1966, Don was asked to teach and to coach the new J.C. football team at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

As a child, he'd hoped to go to West Point and become a general. He was crushed when he couldn't get in because he wore glasses. So he became a general on the playing field, instead.

Smart, decisive and persistent, he spent hours mapping out strategies. He was fascinated by the physical mechanics of pitching and became an expert in kinesiology

He didn't like being a spectator at games unless there was a pitcher he wanted to watch. Then he got seats right behind the mound.

In 1982, Don had a heart attack and was on leave from Golden West College for a year. But when the Angels asked him to be pitching coach for their Redwood Pioneers farm team he couldn't refuse.

When he returned to Golden West, he taught P.E. until the Milwaukee Brewers tabbed him to coach one of its minor league teams. Next, he was a roving pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants farm team.

But in 1990, Milwaukee offered him good money to come back and be their major league pitching coach, so Don left Golden West and worked for the Brewers for the next eight years before retiring for good.

Sports fans reveled in Don's many baseball stories. Like the time Hank Aaron hit his 299th home run off of Don the one year Don played for the New York Mets. Don would then show people the baseball Aaron signed for him on which the hitter specified "299th."

He had an extensive collection of uniforms, hats and signed baseballs.

In 1957, when Don was playing for the Hollywood Stars in an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox, he struck out Ted Williams and the play made the local papers. On Don's 60th birthday, his wife, Marilyn, sent Williams the articles, which he signed and returned with a friendly note.

Although Don could be tough on the field, he had a gentle, generous nature. He let Marilyn write all the checks, but he liked to carry 100 $100 bills with him.

He didn't want to spend it on himself. He wanted to hand out $100 tips to servers, bellhops or anyone else who went out of his or her way to be helpful and whom Don knew wasn't paid much.

One airport worker, who shepherded him through a large airport when he couldn't find his flight gate, burst into tears when he handed her $100.

He fought his disease to the end, struggling to remain physically fit and using a walker to get onto the Golden West field. He was losing his mental acuity, but liked to think he was helping coach.

At the end, though, he got mad.

"You and the doctors can just take this Parkinson's and get rid of it!" he told Marilyn. "I don't want it any more."


We should wend JG to the memorial.

Edgy DC
Nov 12 2005 01:35 PM

Don Rowe, 'Total Classic.'

Yancy Street Gang
Nov 30 2005 08:46 AM

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Vic Power, all-star first baseman, dies at 78

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Inquirer Staff Writer

Vic Power, a flamboyant first baseman who played during sad but historic seasons for both the Phillies and Athletics, died yesterday at 78 in his native Puerto Rico.

According to a family member, Mr. Power succumbed to cancer at a hospital in Bayamon, a suburb of San Juan.

In 12 major-league seasons, Mr. Power won seven Gold Gloves and was named to four all-star teams. He also tied a major-league record by stealing home twice in a 1958 game. He hit 126 home runs and had a career batting average of .284.

The dark-skinned Mr. Power seemed poised to become the New York Yankees' first black player when he led the American Association in hitting with a .359 average in 1953. But the Yankees, who wouldn't integrate until Elston Howard joined them in 1955, traded him to the Athletics before the 1954 season.

That would be Mr. Power's first season in the major leagues and the last in Philadelphia for the once-proud Athletics, who had been troubled by poor attendance and mostly losing baseball for decades.

"Philadelphia was such a miserable team," Mr. Power would say of 1954 when the Athletics went 51-103 and finished last.

Then in 1964, the memorable season in which Philadelphia would squander a 61/2-game lead with 12 to play, he was acquired by the Phillies after first-baseman Frank Thomas broke a finger sliding into second base.

"At the time I thought I had a chance to appear in my first World Series," he told author Danny Peary for his 1994 book We Played the Game.

Neither of those Philadelphia seasons were productive ones for a player who in between was one of the American League's best first basemen.

In his rookie season, Power hit just .255 for the doomed A's, with eight homers and 38 RBIs. Transplanted to Kansas City a year later, he would have his best overall season, batting .319 with 19 homers and 76 RBIs.

The '64 Phillies picked him up from the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 9, a day after Thomas, himself a midseason acquisition, was injured.

Mr. Power was one of nine players manager Gene Mauch used at first base that ill-fated season. In the 18 games he played there before injuring a finger himself, the 36-year-old would hit just .208 with no home runs and 3 RBIs.

He was back with the Angels in 1965 but after hitting just .259 as a part-time player, he retired and returned to Puerto Rico.

A native of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Mr. Power was a spectacularly flashy fielder, a trait that often earned him criticism during that era of white-bread baseball.

He caught everything one-handed, swept his glove sideward with a flourish after receiving the ball, and jumped toward every throw, no matter its location.

Opposing players and sportswriters branded him a "hotdog" or a "showboat," but Power won the Gold Glove at his position every year from 1958 through 1964.

In addition to the A's, Angels and Phillies, he played with the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins. He was an American League all-star in 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1960.

Perhaps his most memorable game came Aug. 14, 1958, with the Indians, to whom he had been traded for Roger Maris. Mr. Power stole home in the eighth inning and then again in the 10th to give Cleveland a 10-9 win over Detroit.

Mr. Power was a jovial and wisecracking teammate but no shrinking violet. He often confronted the racism he encountered at spring-training sites in Florida. When he was arrested there in 1954 for crossing a street while the light was red, he had this to say to the judge:

"I'm a Puerto Rican and on my island a Negro and a white person go to school together, dance together and get married," he told Peary. "But here I go to a restaurant and there's a sign that says 'For Whites Only'... so when I saw white people crossing the street when the green light came on, I figured that colored people could only cross when the light was red."

The charge was dropped.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Edgy DC
Nov 30 2005 09:23 AM

That's some confusing writing.

There seems to be a story in every guy who played for those 1964 Phils. Rest easy, Vic.

MFS62
Nov 30 2005 09:00 PM

I saw Vic play.
He was as good a righty fielding first baseman as the world has ever seen. He was Gil Hodges, but with more flair (the one handed snatch, more than a grab).

Later

seawolf17
Dec 19 2005 09:23 AM

[url=www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/375984p-319503c.html]Barry Halper[/url], legendary baseball memorabilia collector, moved from the All-Purpose Dead People Thread.

]Halper caught the baseball collecting bug at age 8 when, hanging out by the players' gate at Bears Stadium, home of the old Newark Bears of the International League, he was given a uniform jersey of Barney McCosky, one of the Bears' players. He went on to collect 1,068 uniforms, many of which were kept on a computerized dry cleaning rack in his home.

In all, the Halper collection, which was ultimately sold at auction by Sotheby's in 1999, contained over 100,000 pieces ranging from the truly historic (Babe Ruth's famous camel hair coat, Shoeless Joe Jackson's "black Betsey" bat, the papers of correspondence between Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee on the sale of Ruth in 1919), to the truly bizarre (the rifle Ty Cobb's mother used to shoot his father, Cy Young's dentures, and a weather vane that had rested on the roof of a Waterbury, Conn., factory that had once been the home of 19th century Hall of Famer Roger Connor).

Frayed Knot
Dec 19 2005 09:54 AM

I think some ballplayer should start the bidding for some of his internal organs. Maybe strike a deal with the autoposy doc or something.

Edgy DC
Dec 22 2005 09:33 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Dec 22 2005 09:38 AM

Elrod Hendricks caught against the Mets in the 1969 World Series. He spent most of his career with those O's. Despite twice leaving for brief stints, first with the Cubs then with the Yankees, he found his way back both times, and went on to become the team's bullpen coach after his retirement. He's so linked to the Orioles franchise that his middle name should've been Ripken.

Elrod Hendricks is dead at only 64.

Yancy Street Gang
Dec 22 2005 09:36 AM

This kind of stuff makes me feel old.

MFS62
Dec 22 2005 10:06 AM

I feel bad, too.
He was one of the nice guys on that '69 Oriole team.

He was from the Virgin Islands.
Funny how you remember things like that.

RIP,Ellie.

Later

Edgy DC
Dec 29 2005 11:23 PM

"[url=http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051229&content_id=1287784&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb]I don't have enough words, I don't have enough time to explain the greatness of this guy[/url]."

MFS62
Dec 30 2005 08:11 AM

Thank you, Edgy.

I wonder how much Ellie contributed to the development of Melvin Mora. His presence there may be a hint.

EDIT: Here's the full list for 2005:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/ML_2005_death.shtml

Did we take note when ex-Met Mike Bishop passed away earlier this year?

Later