In Memoriam 2021 (Part 3)


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

Don Leppert, 90 (d. Jan. 5): Second baseman Don Leppert had 8 hits in 70 at-bats for the 1955 Baltimore Orioles. Originally a Yankee farmhand, Leppert was part of a 1954 trade that sent Don Larsen and Bob Turley to New York and Gus Triandos and Gene Woodling to Baltimore — 17 players changed uniforms in the deal by time the smoke cleared. After Leppert retired from baseball, he worked in the baking industry until his retirement.

Richie Lewis, 55 (Dec. 8): Richie Lewis was a star pitcher for Florida State University and was a second-round draft pick by the Montreal Expos in 1987. He spent his 7-year major-league career with the Orioles, Marlins, Tigers, Athletics and Reds from 1992 to 1998. He had a 6-4 record for Florida in their inaugural 1993 season, with a 3.26 ERA in 57 games. He appeared in a career-high 72 games with Detroit in 1996, picking up the only two saves of his career. All totaled, Lewis had a career record of 14-15 in 217 games, all but four of which came out of the bullpen.

Chuck Lindstrom, 85 (d. Sept. 7): The son of Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom, Chuck Lindstrom appeared in 1 game as a catcher for the Chicago White Sox in 1958. But it was a heck of a game. He had 2 plate appearances, walking once and hitting an RBI triple in his only official at-bat. He ended his pro career with a 1.000 batting average and 3.000 slugging percentage in the majors. Lindstrom became a college baseball coach before starting a business that installed lighting in sports stadiums. The Chicago White Sox won their 2005 World Series under his lights.

Phil Lombardi, 58 (d. May 20): Phil Lombardi was a catcher for both New York franchises between 1986 and 1989. He hit well in his rookie season of 1986, batting .278 with a couple of homers in 20 games for the Yankees. Multiple knee surgeries ended his playing career after hitting .229 in 18 games for the Mets in 1989. He became a successful real estate agent in California before he passed away in May from complications of brain cancer.

Julio Lugo, 45 (d. Nov. 15): Julio Lugo player 12 seasons (2000-1022) as a middle infielder for the Astros, Devil Rays, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Orioles and Braves. In his rookie season, he filled in admirably for an injured Craig Biggio and hit .283 with 10 homers and 22 stolen bases. He hit a career-high .295 with Tampa Bay in 2006. Lugo didn’t hit that well in Boston after signing as a free agent, but he was a hot postseason hitter in 2007, when the Red Sox knocked off the Rockies to wn the World Series.

Guillermo “Memo” Luna, 91 (d. Nov. 9): Memo Luna was a teenaged wonder as a pitcher in Mexico. However, by the time the lefty made it to the majors with the Cardinals in 1954, years of overuse had robbed him of his velocity. In his one start with St. Louis, he retired just two batters and let 2 runs score.

Angel Mangual, 73 (d. Feb. 16): Mangual came up with the Pirates in 1969 but spent the bulk of his career (1971-76) with the Athletics. He found steady work as a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter, hitting .245 with 44 doubles and 22 home runs in his career. The A’s won three World Championships during his time with the team, and he drove in the go-ahead run in Game 4 of the 1972 World Series against Cincinnati.

Mike Marshall, 78 (d. May 31): Mike Marshall was of the most durable relievers in modern baseball history, leading the league in appearances four times over a 14-year career. In 1974, he won the NL Cy Young Award with a 15-12 record and 21 saves in 106 games — an accomplishment among pitchers that’s probably one of the safest in baseball’s record book. Marshall was a 3-time saves leader and a 2-time All-Star while pitching for the Tigers, Pilots, Astros, Expos, Dodgers, Braves, Rangers, Twins and Mets from 1967 to 1981. A nonconformist like his Pilots teammate Jim Bouton, Marshall studied pitching mechanics in retirement to help pitchers avoid arm injuries.

Ray Miller, 76 (d. May 4): Ray Miller never reached the major leagues as a player, but he was a highly respected pitching coach who taught the likes of Dennis Martinez, Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Doug Drabek and John Smiley in stints with Baltimore and Pittsburgh. He also managed the Twins in 1985-86 and Orioles from 1998-99.

Billy Moran, 87 (d. Oct. 21): Billy Moran was thought of as a good-field, no-hit infielder when he came up with Cleveland in 1958. So it was quite the shock to baseball when he became a hitting threat who was selected to both All-Star Teams in 1962 with the Los Angeles Angels. He batted .282 that year with 17 home runs, 74 RBIs and 90 runs scored. It was easily his best season in the majors. The Angels eventually moved him off second base, where he was great, to third base, where he struggled. His career ended back with Cleveland in 1965. He had a .263 batting average in 7 seasons. Moran ran a successful insurance business in Fairburn, Ga., following his baseball career.

Al Naples, 94 (d. Feb. 26): Al Naples played shortstop for two games with the St. Louis Browns in 1949 before he ever spent a day in the minor leagues. The 22-year-old doubled in 7 at-bats after the injury-riddled Browns signed him right out of Georgetown University. After finishing the ’49 season in the minors, Naples returned to Georgetown to finish his education. He became a teacher in Massachusetts and helped usher computers into the classroom.

Ricky Nelson, 62 (d. Nov. 19): Ricky Nelson played in the outfield for the Mariners from 1983-86 after a good career at Arizona State UNiversity. He appeared in 123 games over those four seasons and batted .247 with 6 home runs. His best season was in 1983, when he played in 98 games and hit .254 with 13 doubles and 5 round-trippers. He returned to his native Arizona after his ballplaying days were over and worked as a youth probation officer.

Mike Overy, 70 (d. Sept. 22): Mike Overy pitched in 5 games in relief for the California Angels in 1976. He had an 0-2 record and 6.14 ERA in his brief MLB stint.. He also spent five seasons with the Salt Lake City Gulls of the Pacific Coast League and had double-digit save totals in three of those seasons.

Stan Palys, 90 (d. Feb. 8): Outfielder Stan Palys had cups of coffee with the Phillies in 1953-55, but he had his best chance to play with he was traded to the Reds in the middle of the 1955 season. He hit just .230 in 79 games but homered 7 times and added 14 doubles. After his major-league career ended, Palys had four good seasons in Japan until a shoulder injury wrecked his ability to throw the ball.

Cecil Perkins, 80 (d. Oct. 28): Cecil Perkins pitched in two games for the Yankees in 1967. He was 0-1 in the games, including one start, and gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. He also had an RBI groundout while facing future Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Kaat.

Juan Pizarro, 84 (d. Feb. 18): Over the course of his 18-year career as a starter and reliever, Juan Pizarro had a 131-105 record with 79 complete games and 28 saves. He was a two-time All-Star with the White Sox in 1963 and 1964, winning 19 games in the latter season. Pizarro pitched for the Milwaukee Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Red Sox, Cleveland, Athletics, Cubs and Astros from 1957-1974. He also had 157 wins while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Scott Reid, 74 (d. June 29): Scott Reid played in 38 games for the Phillies in 1969 and 1970. He hit .147 in 68 at-bats as an outfielder and pinch-hitter. Reid then became a scout after retiring as a player. After working for the Cubs and Marlins, he spent decades with the Detroit Tigers in a variety of positions, including scout, adviser and vice president of player personnel.

Ken Reitz, 69 (d. March 31): Ken Reitz was a slick-fielding, Gold Glove-winning third baseman whose 11-year career included stops with the Cardinals, Giants, Cubs and Pirates. He led the NL in fielding percentage 6 times, and his .970 career fielding mark is 10th-best all-time. Reitz was an All-Star for St. Louis in 1980 when he batted .270 and had 33 doubles. He had a career .260/.290/.359 slash line.

Jerry Remy, 68 (d. Oct. 30): Massachusetts native Jerry Remy may have started his career with the California Angels in 1975, but he achieved his greatest success with the Red Sox, both as a player and a broadcaster. He was named to the All-Star Team in his first season with the Sox in 1978. He batted .278 with 30 stolen bases and 87 runs scored that season. Injuries ended his career at age 30, with a career .275 batting average and 208 steals. He stayed with the Red Sox after his retirement and became a beloved commentator on their television broadcasts. YouTube is full of some of his greatest moments behind the mic.

J.R. Richard, 71 (d. Aug. 4): James Rodney Richard was one of the most intimidating pitchers of his era. He stood 6-foot-8 and had one of the hardest fastballs in the game during his 10-year career with the Astros. It took a mind-boggling long time for the Astros to keep him in the starting rotation, but once new manager Bill Virdon made him a starter, Richard became a force of nature. He won 20 games in 1976 and then 18 games in each of the next three seasons. He topped 300 strikeouts in 1978 and 1979 as well, leading MLB both years. Richardlooked to be on the way to his best season yet in 1980, with 10 wins and a 1.90 ERA. That summer, he began experiencing health problems and suffered a near-fatal stroke that ended his career. His treatment at the hands of medical professionals is a shameful moment in baseball history, and he was branded as “selfish” or “lazy” because his concerns about his own health weren’t shared by many on his team or the Houston media. After going through some severe financial difficulties, Richard became a minister in Texas.

Dave L. Roberts, 88 (d. Oct. 2): Dave Roberts was born in Panama in 1933 and was discovered by Negro League star Chet Brewer, who brought him to the U.S. to play for his minor-league team. Roberts soon was noticed by major-league scouts, and he played for the Colt .45s and Pirates between 1962 and 1966. in 91 games, he batted .196. However, he later went to Japan and hit 183 home runs in 7 seasons there.

Eddie Robinson, 100 (d. Oct. 4): Eddie Robinson spent parts of seven decades involved in professional baseball, as a player, coach, scout, executive and consultant. In his 13-year playing career that spanned from 1942 to 1957 (with a couple of years lost to military service), he played for Cleveland, the Senators, White Sox, Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics, Yankees, Tigers and Orioles. He was a 4-time All-Star and retired with a .268 batting average and 172 home runs. He also served as a general manager for Atlanta and Texas. Shortly after his 100th birthday, Robinson decided to become a podcaster, and he left behind more than two dozen episodes of “The Golden Age of Baseball” with stories about his life and career. He was the oldest living ballplayer at the time of his death.

Tom Robson, 75 (d. April 20): Tom Robson spent parts of 1974 and ’75 with the Texas Rangers as a designated hitter and first baseman. He appeared in 23 games with a .208 batting average. He hit 197 home runs in the minor leagues, plus 3 more in a brief stay in Japan. He was an in-demand hitting coach, frequently joining Bobby Valentine’s staff wherever Valentine was employed. Robson also passed along his love of baseball to his nephew, Mike Moustakas.

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