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Former Kansas City Athletics player Santiago Rosario passed away on September 6, 2013 in his hometown of Guayanilla, Puerto Rico at the age of 74.  Rosario was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960 and played in the Cardinals organization from 1960to 1963.  Before the 1964 season Santiago came to the Kansas City Athletics organization playing for the AA Birmingham A’s in 1964, 1965 and 1966, and in 1966 played for the AAA Vancouver Mounties in the Pacific Coast League. His only major league season was in 1965 when he appeared in 81 games for the A’s as a first baseman and outfielder.  Mr. Rosario also played in the Atlanta Braves minor leagues organization from 1968 through 1971, and finished his playing career playing three seasons in the Mexican Leagues from 1973 to 1975.  The KCBHS extends our deepest sympathy to the family of Santiago Rosario and he will forever be remembered as a Kansas City Athletic.

Daniel “Dan” Osinski
1933-2013

Former Kansas City Athletics pitcher Dan Osinski passed away on September 16, 2013 at the age of 79 in Sun City, Arizona.  Osinski was born in Chicago, Illinois and was a tremendous athlete in high school lettering in football, basketball and baseball.  In 1951 at the age of 17 Dan traveled to St. Louis to work out for the St. Louis Browns.  The Cleveland Indians were in St. Louis to play the Browns, and while he was trying out Indians scout Wally Laskowski saw him and signed him to a major league contract.  He played in the Indians minor league system from 1952 through 1956 advancing as high as AA.  In 1957 he was drafted into the U.S Army, and served a term of two years.  Being a free agent he signed with the Chicago White Sox playing in their minor league system from 1959 through 1961.  After the 1961 season Osinski was selected by the Kansas City Athletics in the 1961 minor league draft and appeared in 4 games for the Athletics making his major league debut on April 11, 1962 at Municipal Stadium against the Minnesota Twins and shares the same major league debut date as Ed Charles.  That season he also played for two A’s minor league teams in Albuquerque (AA) and Portland (AAA).  While with Portland he was selected to the PCL All Star team and played in the All Star game against the Los Angeles Angels and caught the eye of the Angels General Manager Fred Haney.  On July 21, 1962 Haney and the Angels acquired him from the Athletics for a player to be named later, with that player being pitcher Ted Bowsfield.  Dan played for the Angels from 1962 through 1964, and then switched leagues playing the 1965 season for the Milwaukee Braves making 61 appearances with 6 saves.  He played for the Boston Red Sox in 1966 and 1967 and was a member of the 67 Red Sox World Series team that faced the St. Louis Cardinals.  Osinski pitched in two of the series seven games as the Sox were defeated by Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.  He returned to the Chicago White Sox in 1968 spending that season with the AAA Hawaii Islanders and then in 1969 made 51 appearances for Chicago winning 5 games and collecting 2 saves.  He finished his major league career in 1970 appearing in 3 ball games for the Houston Astros.  After his career ended he worked as a banker and a car salesman.  He also owned and operated a restaurant named Squire’s Inn in Oak Forrest, Illinois as well as owned a steel fabrication shop named DanO.  In 1990 he retired to Arizona.  The Kansas City Baseball Historical Society extends our sympathy to the family of Dan Osinski.  He will always be remembered as a Kansas City Athletic.

 

Fred Talbot, former Kansas City A's pitcher died on January 11, 2013. Fred pitched in the MLB from 1963-1970 with the White Sox, Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Oakland A's and the Kansas City A's from 1965-66. The KCBHS expresses our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Fred Talbot.

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Dr. Harry Taylor, who pitched in the Kansas City A's organization from 1957-1961, died on January 24th in Fort Worth, Texas. He appeared in two games in the MLB, with the Kansas City A's in 1957. A career ending shoulder injury curtailed his career and he became a successful oral surgeon. The thoughts and prayers of the KCBHS go to the family and friends of Harry Taylor.

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Jerry Coleman
1924-2014

Jerry Coleman played for the Kansas City Blues in 1946 and 1947, and later played for the New York Yankees from 1949 through 1957 winning 4 World Series rings during that time.  He was an AL All Star in 1950 and was selected to the Hall of Fame for broadcasting serving the San Diego Padres from 1972 through 2012.  He also managed the Padres in 1980.


Frank Evans, age 90, died on August 3rd. He played multiple positions in the Negro Leagues from 1937-1965 with the Birmingham Black Barons, Kansas City Monarchs, Cleveland Buckeyes, Memphis Red Sox and Chattanooga Choo Choos. He later worked in the MLB as an instructor and scout with the Indians, Cubs, Expos and the Kansas City Royals from 1968-1972. The KCBHS extends thoughts and prayers to the family of Frank Evans.

 


Tom Saffell, who played in 9 games as a member of the 1955 Kansas City Athletics, died in Florida on September 10th at the age of 91. He was an outfielder, and also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1959-55. After his playing career he was a longtime minor league manager, and later the longtime President of the Gulf Coast League. The KCBHS sends their thoughts and prayers to the family of Tom Saffell.

 

A's pitcher Glen Cox passes away

Glenn Cox, who pitched in 18 games for the Kansas City A's between 1955-1958, passed away at his home in Los Molinos California on January 8, 2012 at the age of 80. He was in professional baseball from 1950-1959, playing in the Brooklyn Dodger, Kansas City A's and New York Yankees organizations. In later years he coached baseball for Los Molinos High School, leading the team to numerous championships. In 2009 he published a book about his baseball career titled "The Way The Game Was Played". The KCBHS extends its thoughts and prayers to the family of Glenn Cox


Troy Herriage, pitcher for the 1956 Kansas City Athletics, passed away on Feb. 10th in Atlanta, Georgia after a long illness. Troy grew up in Oakdale, Ca. attended Oakdale High School where he was drafted out of High School to the Kansas City Athletics. He had a record of 1-13 while pitching with the KC A's in 1956. After a long career as a Design Engineer he enjoyed a second career as a Bed and Breakfast owner, finally retiring and moving to Georgia. The KC Baseball Historical Society expresses thoughts and prayers to the family of Troy Herriage.

 


FORMER KANSAS CITY A'S INFIELDER ANDY CAREY PASSES AWAY DEC. 15, 2011

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Jerry Coleman 1924-2014
Jerry Coleman played for the Kansas City Blues in 1946 and 1947, and later played for the New York Yankees from 1949 through 1957 winning 4 World Series rings during that time.  He was an AL All Star in 1950 and was selected to the Hall of Fame for broadcasting serving the San Diego Padres from 1972 through 2012.  He also managed the Padres in 1980.

Cot Deal 1923-2013
Cot Deal played for the Boston Red Sox from 1947-1948, and also played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1950 and 1954.  He served as a coach under Alvin Dark for the Kansas City Athletics in 1966 and 1967.

John “Zeke” Bella 1930-2013
Zeke Bella played two seasons in the major leagues, with the New York Yankees in 1957 and with the Kansas City Athletics in 1959.

Johnny Kucks 1932-2013
Johnny Kucks pitched two seasons for the Kansas City Athletics in 1959 & 1960 after pitching 4 seasons for the New York Yankees.  During his time as a Yankee he was selected to the AL All Star team in 1956 and played in 4 World Series winning two championships in 1956 & 1958.

Preston Ward 1927-2013
Preston Ward was born in Columbia MO, graduated from high School in Springfield, MO and attended Missouri State University.  He played two seasons for the Kansas City Athletics in 1958 & 1959, and played 9 seasons in the major leagues for the A’s , Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians.  He was included in the trade with the Cleveland Indians that brought Roger Maris to Kansas City.

 

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Passing of two former Kansas City A's

On July 4th, 2011 former outfielder Wes Covington, Age 79, passed away in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He had a 11 year major league career, playing for the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was often remembered for his hitting and defensive prowess during the 1957 World Series, in which the Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees. Covington was part of a trade from the Chicago White Sox to the Kansas City A's in 1961 in which the A's sent Andy Carey, Ray Herbert, Don Larsen and Al Pilarcik to Chicago. He appeared in 17 games for the Kansas City A's and was then traded by the A's to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Bobby Del Greco.

On July 7th, 2011 former outfielder and longtime MLB manager Dick Williams passed away in Las Vegas, age 82. He played 13 years in the major leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Athletics and Boston Red Sox. He was traded in 1958 by the Orioles to Kansas City in exchange for Chico Carrasquel. Williams played for the A's in the 1959-1960 seasons. He later became a manger, and in 21 seasons managed the Oakland A's, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, California Angels, Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners. He led the Oakland A's to two World Series championships during his tenure there, and in 2007 was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Manager. 


Don Fred Williams | Born:  September 14, 1931 (Floyd, VA) | Died: October 16, 2011 (Floyd, VA)
Former Kansas City Athletics player Don Williams passed away October 16, 2011.  He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and George Washington University. Upon graduating from Tennessee he joined the army and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953.  Don played for the Pirates organization from 1953 through 1961, making appearances in the major leagues for the Pirates in 1958 and 1959.  Don was a relief pitcher and in 1958 appeared in two games for the Pirates in relief.  In 1959 he appeared in 6 games for Pittsburgh.  He recorded his first and only major league base hit in 1959 with a triple.  He was sent to the Chicago White Sox organization in 1961 and then was dealt to the Kansas City Athletics before the 1962 season.  With the A’s in 1962 Don made three relief appearances finishing his major league playing career. Don had a twin brother Dewey Williams that pitched several seasons in the minor leagues in the Pirates organization. After professional baseball, he taught and coached P.E. in Montgomery Co. Maryland. Don and his brother had a summer camp for kids in Pennsylvania called Camp Bright Star. Upon retiring from teaching, he returned to his home where he farmed, raised cattle, and collected Indian artifacts.  

Submitted by KCBHS member Mark Moore

 

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Former Kansas City A's pitcher John "Sonny" Dixon passed away on November 19, 2011 in Charlotte, NC. He played professional baseball from 1941 to 1960 except for three years while he was serving in the United States Navy during World War II. Sonny played in the major leagues for 3 1/2 years with the Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics, Kansas City Athletics and the New York Yankees. He held The American League record for appearing in 54 games in 1954 and was inducted into the American Legion Hall of fame in 1989.  As a member of the 1954 Philadelphia A's, he came to Kansas City as a member of the inaugural 1955 team when the franchis moved to Kansas City.  He appeared in two games for the Kansas City A's, but on May 11, 1955 the A's traded him to the New York Yankees in return for Johnny Sain and Enos Slaughter.  The KCBHS thanks Sonny Dixon for his service to our country and his baseball career, and our thoughts and prayers to the Dixon family.

 
 


LEGENDARY SLUGGER HARMON
KILLEBREW PASSES AWAY

Harmon Killebrew, legendary slugger who played his final year in baseball with the 1975 Kansas City Royals, passed away on May 17 in Scottsdale, Arizona after a long battle with cancer.  Born June 29, 1936, Harmon Killebrew was signed by the Washington Senators in 1954 at the age of 17. Regarded as one of the most prolific power hitters in major league baseball history, Harmon “Killer” Killebrew amassed numbers matched only by the game’s very elite. In his 22 years of hard work and productivity, he was named American League All-Star 13 times, the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player and a six-time American League home run leader. At the time of his retirement, he hit more home runs (573) than any right-handed hitter. In 1984, Killebrew joined baseball’s immortals with his election into the Hall of Fame.   The Kansas City Baseball Historical Society extends thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of baseball legend, Harmon Killebrew.


Royals Legend Paul Splittorff passes away

Paul Splittorff, Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame pitcher who won more games than any Royals pitcher, died of complications from melanoma on May 25th in Blue Springs, Mo.

Splittorff, 64, was hospitalized on May 16 for treatment of oral cancer and melanoma but recently returned home.

Survivors include his wife, Lynn; a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, Jamie.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to: St. Mary's Medical Center Foundation, 201 NW R.D. Mize Rd., Blue Springs, Mo. 64014

Splittorff spent his entire 15-year Major League career with the Royals and had a 166-143 record and 3.81 ERA in 429 regular-season games. He played in four postseasons, 1976-77-78 and 1980, reaching the World Series in the latter year. His postseason mark was 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA. Both wins were against the Yankees, in 1976 and '77.

Splittorff not only holds the Royals' career record for victories, he is the leader in starts (392) and innings pitched (2,554 2/3). He became the club's first 20-game winner in 1973, when he went 20-11. He was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1987.

To honor Splittorff's memory, the Royals will wear a memorial patch that says "Splitt" on a sleeve of their jerseys for the remainder of the season.

"He wasn't blessed with a 100-mph fastball, he wasn't blessed with a Bert Blyleven curve, he wasn't blessed with a tremendous changeup, but he was blessed a good brain. He knew how to pitch," said teammate and Hall of Famer George Brett. "He was blessed with a big heart and put it all on the line. He was always prepared; he was always in good shape."

Splittorff's playing career spanned from 1970-84 and after his retirement he became known to a legion of baseball and Big 12 basketball fans as a highly respected and knowledgeable broadcaster.

Frank White, a teammate who took over in the TV booth during Splittorff's illness, remembered him fondly.

"Paul [was] probably one of the more underrated guys on our team," White said. "He not only played for 15 years but he won some huge games for us. I have memories of him beating the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1980 playoffs to get us to our first World Series."

Splittorff, with relief help from Dan Quisenberry and home runs by Brett and White, beat the Yankees, 4-2, in New York to sweep the American League Championship Series -- finally, after the Royals had lost to the Bronx Bombers three times in the '70s.

"Splitt was a great teammate, a great professional, [he] taught me a lot about catching," said Jamie Quirk, another teammate on those Royals teams. "I was a converted catcher and used to sit with him and go over hitters. He had a big influence in my career.

"You had George Brett, who's the No. 1 Royal. Frank White is probably No. 2. No one has ever gotten past that, but I would still put Splitt No. 3. In Kansas City he's gotten his due because he was a former player to broadcast for 20-something years and first as a pitcher, but I don't think people realize some of the things he accomplished."

Splittorff this year was working in his 24th season as a television analyst for FOX Sports Kansas City. However, his appearances on Royals broadcasts in the past three years had been limited because of difficulties with his voice.

Splittorff was a two-sport star in baseball and basketball at Morningside College in Iowa and carried the love of both sports with him throughout his life. The expansion Royals drafted him in 1968.

"He was a long shot to make it to the Major Leagues, being a 25th-round Draft pick out of a small college and he signs with a team that he'd never heard of because the Major League team wasn't operating yet," Davis said. "They sent him to Corning, N.Y., and because they didn't have a Double-A team at the time, he jumps to Triple-A Omaha. And he not only defies the odds by making it to the Major Leagues, he was extremely successful."

As a rookie in 1971, he showed his promise by recording a 2.68 ERA to go with an 8-9 record. In 1973, he went 20-11 and came close to that level in 1978, when he was 19-13.

"He knew how to pitch," Brett said. "Sometimes you have to will your way to victory and the guy with the biggest heart will win. And that's what he had."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

 

Former A's Infielder "Spook" Jacobs passes away
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  Former Kansas City Athletics Second Baseman Forrest “Spook” Jacobs passed away on Friday February 19, 2011 in Milford, Delaware at the age of 85.  Mr. Jacobs received the nickname “Spook” from a baseball writer for his uncanny ability to dump baseballs just over the heads of opposing infielders.  Mr. Jacobs was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946 and played in the minor leagues.  He was selected by the Philadelphia Athletics in the Rule 5 draft in 1953, then made his major league debut in 1954 at the age of 28 collecting 131 base hits with 11 doubles and scored 63 runs while stealing 17 bases.  He connected for base hits in his first four major league at bats.   Mr. Jacobs came to Kansas City in 1955 when the Athletics moved from Philadelphia and played for the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and part of the 1956 season  before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Pitchers Jack McMahan and second baseman Curt Roberts.  The 1956 season was his final major league season.  After playing in the major leagues he also played in Cuba and in Panama.  One of his famous quotes from his rookie season when asked about being a 28 year old rookie, he stated that “ I was the only rookie who ever drew social security”.  Jacobs was a pesky hitter who reached base by slapping balls through the infield.  During 1956 spring training, Jacobs competed with Jim Finigan for the starting second baseman job for the Kansas City Athletics. Finigan was considered a more powerful hitter, but Jacobs was a faster player.

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Reno Bertoia remembered

By Bob Duff, The Windsor Star April 15, 2011

Reno Bertoia, who played part of the season with the 1961 Kansas City Athletics, passed away on April 15th in Windsor, Ontario.  He played 10 years in the majors, with the Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators and Kansas City A's.   In 1961 he was traded by the Minnesota twins to the A's for Bill Tuttle.  He was traded by the A's later in that season to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Bill Fischer.   In 1982 he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

"Former KC Royals Manager Charlie Metro dies at 91"

He managed the Royals for 52 games during the 1970 season. He also managed the Chicago Cubs for part of the 1962 season.

Posted: 03/23/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT
By Irv Moss, The Denver Post

If legends are made by the number of stories told about them, Charlie Metro qualifies hands down.

Metro also was a great storyteller, particularly when it came to talking about his 47 years in baseball. His spectrum included managing stops with the Denver Bears, Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.

Metro, 91, died Friday in Buckingham, Va., of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. Services were in Buckingham and a Celebration of Life is scheduled April 9 in Denver. He had operated a ranch northwest of Arvada and raised quarter horses until three years ago, when he moved to Buckingham.

"The horses were the third love of his life," said Elena Metro, Charlie's daughter. Helen, his wife of 70 years, and baseball provided the other two.

Metro became prominent in Denver's baseball history in 1960 when he managed the Bears to their first American Association regular-season championship. He also managed the Bears the following year before moving to the Cubs in 1962 and becoming part of "The College of Coaches."

In an experiment, Metro, Elvin Tappe and Lou Klein took turns as manager during the season. The team finished 59-103 and in ninth place.

"It was like having a three-legged horse," Metro said of the experiment. "Occasionally the team would play real well, but about that time they'd rotate the coaches again."

The Cubs roster that year included Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo.

Metro, who managed the Royals in 1970, was involved in baseball at a time when there were as many as 54 leagues around the country. He remembered that he had 38 different mailing addresses while he was in the game.

As for his playing days with Detroit and the Philadelphia Athletics, Metro quipped, "I hit .400, .200 each year."

Metro made an important suggestion in the early blueprints of Coors Field. From his experience in Kansas City, he urged the builders to include batting cages for both the home and visiting teams under the grandstand, and the idea was added to the construction plan.

Irv Moss: 303-954-1296 or imoss@denverpost.com

 

 

 

Submitted by KCBHS Member Mark Moore:

We have lost two former Kansas City
Athletic players in September.

Bob Shaw- Robert John Shaw (June 29, 1933 – September 23, 2010)
died of liver cancer on September 23, 2010.

Bob Shaw pitched for the Kansas City Athletics in 1961 appearing in 26 games, making 24 starts going 9 and 10 with a 4.31 ERA with 60 strikeouts.  Mr. Shaw came to Kansas City in a trade with the Chicago White Sox in 1961 along with  Covington, Stan Johnson and  Gerry Staley with the A’s sending Andy Carey, Ray Herbert, Don Larsen  and Al Pilarcik.  The Athletics traded Mr. Shaw to the Milwaukee Braves along with Lou Klimchock receiving in exchange Joe Azcue, Ed Charles and Manny Jiminez.  Mr. Shaw also pitched for the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Braves, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.  He won 18 games for the 1959 White Sox and started 2 games of the World Series, going 1-1 as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Sox.

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Al Pilarcik-  Alfred J. Pilarcik 
(July 3, 1930 – September 23,2010)

Al Pilarcik played for the Kansas City Athletics in 1956 and 1961.  Mr. Pilarcik was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1948 then was sent to the Kansas City organization in 1955.  He made his major league debut as a member of the A’s in 1956 appearing in 69 games, playing both center field and right field.  That season he batted .251 with 60 base hits including 10 doubles and 4 home runs with 22 RBI’s, 28 runs scored and 9 stolen bases.  He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Jim Pisoni and played for Baltimore from 1957 to 1960.  The Orioles traded Mr. Pilarcik back to Kansas City along with Jim Archer, Bob Boyd, Wayne Causey and Clint Courtney in exchange for Whitey Herzog and Russ Snyder.  He appeared in 35 games for the A’s in 1961 before being traded to the Chicago White Sox.  In that trade Mr. Pilarcik along with Andy Carey, Ray Herbert and Don Larsen went to the White Sox in exchange for Wes Covington, Stan Johnson, Gerry Staley and Bob Shaw (see information above on the death of Mr. Shaw).

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Former Kansas City Royals coach Steve Boros passed
away on Wednesday December 29,2010 in Deland, FL.. He was 74.

Boros signed a bonus contract (bonus baby) with the Detroit Tigers in 1957, and appeared in 24 games for Detroit in 1957.  The 1961 season was his first full season in the America League and Boros appeared in 116 games as a third baseman and hit .270 with 62 runs batted in.  In 1962 Boros slugged three home runs in one game on August 6.  He was traded to the Chicago Cubs before the 1963 season and finished his playing career in 1964-1965 with the Cincinnati Reds.  In all or parts of seven seasons, he batted .245 with 26 home runs.  Boros continued to playing the minor leagues through the 1969 season.

His managing career began in the Kansas City Royals farm system in 1970.  He was a member of Whitey Herzog’s coaching staff with the Royals in Kansas City from 1975 through 1979, and then returned to the coaching ranks with the Royals from 1993 through 1994.  He also served as a coach with the Montreal Expos (1981-1982) and the Baltimore Orioles (1995).  He also served as a coordinator of instruction and farm director for several other Major League teams.

Boros also Managed the Oakland Athletics in 1983 and part of the 1984 season and then managed the San Diego Padres in the 1986 season.  Boros was known as one of the most genial people in baseball. In fact, that was often the knock on him as a manager, that he was too nice. Boros liked to read books on various subjects, too, and some critics a quarter-century ago said that didn't fit in with the game's hard-nosed nature.  In the middle of the 1986 season, Boros was ejected before the first pitch of a game at Atlanta. He had gone to home plate for the exchange of lineup cards and tried to hand a videotape to umpire Charlie Williams, who had made a call the previous night that resulted in a triple play against the Padres. Williams was sure he'd gotten the play correct and quickly tossed Boros.

Replays showed Boros was right.


Former A's Outfielder Gino Cimoli Dies

Gino Cimoli, outfielder for the Kansas Cityy A's from 1962-1964, passed away Saturday. February 12th at age 81, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.  His major league career went from 1956-1965, appearing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Athletics, California Angels and Baltimore Orioles.  He had a lifetime batting average of .265, with 808 career hits and 44 home runs.

Cimoli came up with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956 at age 26 and was the leadoff batter in the inaugural major league regular season game in California, on April 15, 1958 at Seals Stadium in San Francisco.

Cimoli, who went 5 for 20 with two walks for the Pirates in the 1960 World Series, had a pinch-hit single to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning in Pittsburgh's memorable Game 7 victory. As a rookie, he was on the Dodgers' 1956 World Series team but did not bat.

We sadly report that on Monday, November 15th former Kansas City Royals outfielder Ed "Spanky" Kirkpatrick passed away in Anaheim, California.  He was 66 years old.  Kirkpatrick had a 16 year major league career (appearing in 1,311 games), with the Angels, Pirates, Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers and Brewers.  In December, 1968 he was traded by the Angels (along with Dennis Paepke) to the Kansas Royals in return for Hoyt Wilhelm.  He played for the Royals from 1969-1973.   R.I.P. Spanky.

Former MLB pitcher Danny McDevitt passed away on November 20, 2010 in Covington, Georgia.   He pitched for seven years in the major leagues from 1957-1962, appearing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Athletics.   He appeared in 33 games for the 1962 A's, and spent part of the 1963 season with the A's AAA farm team, the Portland Beavers, before he retired from baseball.    He is remembered for striking out nine Pittsburgh Pirates, when he pitched a complete game 2-0 victory for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957.   That would be the final home game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

 


MLB pitcher Ryne Duren, a member of the 1957 Kansas City Athletics, died at his Florida home on January 6th at the age of 81.  Duren, who was known for his intimidating and sometimes erratic fastball that sometimes reached 100 MPH, while wearing "coke bottle" eyeglassses that caused batters to be uneasy in the batters box.  He was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Browns in 1949.   He pitched in the major leagues from from 1954 to 1965, while playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Athletics , New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators.  He pitched for the Yankees in both the 1958 and 1960 World Series and appeared in 311 games in his 10 year major league career.  Former Chicago Cubs star Ryne Sandburg was named after Ryne Duren.  After his retirement from baseball Duren was active in alcohol counseling, and later wrote a books titled "I Can See Clearly Now" "The Comeback", which discussed his problems with alcohol during his career.  Duren had planned to attend the July, 2010 Kansas City A's Reunion hosted by the KC Baseball Historical Society but had to cancel because of illness just prior to the event.

 


Gus Zernial passes away. Former Kansas City A's (1955-1957) outfielder Gus "Ozark Ike" Zernial, died Thursday, January 19th in Fresno, California.


  A one-time All-Star, Mr. Zernial led the American League in home runs (33) and RBIs (129) in 1951 despite being traded from the White Sox to the A's just four games into the season. He hit a career-high 42 homers for the A's in 1953.

From 1950-57, no AL player, not even Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra or Ted Williams, slugged more home runs than Mr. Zernial's 220.

"Gus played against some big-time hitters but never got as much hoopla as those guys, mostly because his career only lasted 11 years and he never played in a big market," said longtime friend Tom Sommers, a former minor league director for the California Angels. "But he was a terrific hitter."

Born June 27, 1923, in Beaumont, Texas, Mr. Zernial was the youngest of 10 children. In his 2007 autobiography "Ozark Ike," he described playing sandlot baseball from morning till nightfall, using a broomstick when no bat was available.

Mr. Zernial was a three-sport star for Beaumont High and signed his first pro contract in 1941 at age 17 with the St. Louis Cardinals. During World War II, he served 25 months in the Navy as a radio operator aboard five battleships stationed in the Pacific, according to The Baseball Biography Project website.

Mr. Zernial's baseball career might have been even more prolific if not for two broken collarbones. Before the second injury, in 1954, he hit the last grand slam in Philadelphia A's history.

In 1984, Mr. Zernial was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Wall of Fame in 2001 and named to the Philadelphia A's All-Century team in 2002.

Mr. Zernial is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Marla; two sons, Gus Zernial Jr. and Jim Zernial; two daughters, Susan Zernial and Lisa Pearlstein; five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

  CONTACT  
Jeff Logan - E-Mail or  Phone 913-961-0929 | David Starbuck - E-Mail or  Phone 816-668-8968
 

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