2022 In Memoriam (Part 1)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Mike Adamson – Adamson pitched in 11 games, including 4 starts, for the Baltimore Orioles between 1967 and 1969. He finished with an 0-4 record and a 7.46 ERA. He died on May 7 at the age of 74.

Luke Allen – Allen played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002 and Colorado Rockies in 2003. His only major-league hit was a double on September 14, 2002, against Colorado’s Kent Mercker. Allen, who had been a softball instructor in Georgia, died on April 26 at the age of 43.

Al Autry – On September 14, 1976, Al Autry started his only major-league game for the Atlanta Braves, against the Houston Astros. He gave up 3 runs in 5 innings and earned the win. His catcher, playing in his third major-league game, was Dale Murphy. Autry had been diagnosed with Progressive Auprenuclear Palsy several years ago and died on February 25 at the age of 69.

Jim Bailey – Pitcher Jim “Hop” Bailey was the younger brother of long-time catcher Ed Bailey and appeared in 3 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1959. Brother Ed was his catcher in all of those games. Bailey went 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA. He died on October 12 at the age of 87.

Eddie Basinski – A rare second baseman/shortstop/classical violinist, the versatile Eddie Basinski helped fill out the Brooklyn Dodgers infield during the World War II years of 1944 and 1945. He also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947. He had a career .244 batting average over 203 games. Basinski died on January 8 from dementia at the age of 99.

Ed Bauta – Cuban-born pitcher Ed Bauta reached the majors in 1960 with the St. Louis Cardinals and stayed with the team through 1963 as a reliever. He was traded to the New York Mets and pitched there until 1964. He pitched in 97 big-league games and had a 6-6 record, with 11 saves and a 4.35 ERA. He is the only pitcher who appeared in both the final game at the Polo Grounds and the first game at Shea Stadium. Bauta died at the age of 87 on July 6.

Larry Biittner – One of the better pinch hitters of his time, Biittner had a 14-year career with the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds from 1970-83. He died of cancer on January 2 at the age of 75. Biittner had a career .273 batting average with 861 hits. Twelve of his 29 career home runs came in 1977 with the Cubs.

Ethan Blackaby – Ethan Blackaby played in 15 games for the Milwaukee Braves in 1962 and 1964, with 3 hits in 25 at-bats. He later became a successful minor-league baseball executive and promoter. Blackaby died on January 16 at the age of 81.

Tommy Boggs – Pitcher Tommy Boggs started and ended his 9-year career with the Texas Rangers, with time spent with the Atlanta Braves in between. He won 12 games for Atlanta in 1980 and retired with a 20-44 record and 4.22 ERA. Boggs died of cancer on October 5 at the age of 66. He had been the head coach of Concordia University Texas’ baseball team since 2009.

Carl Boles – Outfielder and pinch-hitter Carl Boles played in 19 games with the San Francisco Giants in 1962. With 9 singles and 4 runs scored in 24 at-bats, he had a .375/.375/.375 slash line. Boles died on April 8 at 87 years old.

Jim Bronstad – Jim Bronstad pitched in 45 games in the majors, with the New York Yankees in 1959 and Washington Senators in 1963 & 1964. He had a 1-7 record with a 5.48 ERA and retired to take a job in the construction industry. Bronstad died on April 9 at the age of 85.

Cal Browning – Oklahoma native Cal Browning pitched 2/3 of an inning for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960. After allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, he was sent to the minors, and the Cards called up another young pitcher — Bob Gibson. Browning died on September 14 at the age of 85.

Tom Browning – Tom Browning will be remembered for his 1988 perfect game, but his baseball life was filled with numerous accomplishments — on the field, off the field, on an apartment rooftop across the street from Wrigley Field. He was a 20-game winner in his rookie season and won 123 games with the Cincinnati Reds. He also pitched briefly for the Kansas City Royals during his 12-year (1984-95) career. Browning, 62, was found dead in his home in Union, Ky., on December 19.

Bill Burbach — Bill Burbach was the first player the New York Yankees ever drafted in the inaugural amateur draft of 1965. He pitched for the Yankees from 1969-71 and had a 6-11 record and 4.48 ERA in 37 games, including 28 starts. He was also the opposing pitcher on the day that Satchel Paige made his last-ever professional appearance in the mound, in 1966. Burbach was 74 years old when he died on July 20.

Shirley Burkovich – In her 3-year career in the AAGPBL, Shirley Burkovich played for the Muskegon Lassies, Chicago Colleens, Springfield Sallies and Rockford Peaches as an infielder-outfielder. Right to her dying day, she was an advocate for women’s baseball and was a founding director of the International Women’s Baseball Center. She appears briefly in the pilot episode of the “A League of Their Own” TV series. Burkovich died on March 31 at the age of 89.

Pete Burnside – Pitcher Pete Burnside had an 8-year career for the New York/San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators and Baltimore Orioles from 1955-63. He won 19 games and lost 36, with a 4.81 ERA. After his baseball career, he became a teacher and baseball coach at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. Burnside died on August 26 at the age of 92.

Chuck Carr – After cups of coffee with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, Carr joined the expansion Florida Marlins and led the NL in stolen bases with 58 in 1993. Carr also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros in a career that lasted from 1990 to 1997. His last at-bat resulted in a postseason home run off the Braves’ John Smoltz. Carr was just 55 when he died on November 12 in Oklahoma City.

Frank Cipriani – Outfielder Frank Cipriani played in 13 games for the Kansas City Athletics in 1961. He got 9 hits in 36 at-bats for a .250 batting average. After baseball, Cipriani served as a lieutenant in the Lackawanna Fire Department for 35 years, and he also operated several restaurants in New York. Cipriani died on June 7 at the age of 81.

Gene Clines – As a ballplayer, Gene Clines won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and also played for the New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs over his 10-year career. He was a career .277 hitter and was a part of Pittsburgh’s all-minority lineup on September 1, 1971. He also served as a coach into the 2000s on multiple teams, including the Cubs, Mariners and Giants. The 75-year-old Clines died on January 27.

Don Collins – Georgia native Don Collins was drafted four different times in either the first or second round out of South Georgia College before signing with the Atlanta Braves in 1972. He pitched for the Braves in 1977 and the Cleveland Indians in 1980, with a 3-9 record and 5.28 ERA. Collins died on May 22 at the age of 69.

Bob Conley – Pitcher Bob Conley made 2 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1958 when he was 24. He had no record and gave up 7 earned runs in 8-1/3 innings of work for a 7.56 ERA. Conley died on February 14 at age 88.

Terry Cooney – Terry Cooney was working as a prison guard when he got the idea of becoming a professional umpire. He reached the majors in 1974 and, on his second day on the job, witnessed Nolan Ryan throw the third no-hitter of his career. Cooney worked as a full-time umpire from 1975 to 1992 when a knee injury forced him into retirement. He died on March 4 at the age of 88.

Jim Corsi – Over his 10-year career from 1988 to 1999, Jim Corsi pitched in 368 games in the majors, all but one in relief. He played for the Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles and had a 3.25 ERA to go with a 22-24 record and 7 saves. Corsi died on January 4 at the age of 60 from liver and colon cancer.

Rocky Craig – Rockne “Rocky” Craig never reached the majors despite a few good seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization and elsewhere in the 1970s. After retiring from his post-baseball career as a UPS delivery driver, Craig became a “Blue Angel,” meaning he was a shuttle driver for a hospital in San Diego. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016 and shared his own story with countless others who were going through their own health crises. He died on March 14 after a recurrence of cancer. Rocky Craig was 72.

Julio Cruz – Second baseman Julio Cruz played 10 years in the majors with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, from 1977 to 1986. He stole 343 bases in the majors and once stole 32 consecutive bases between 1980 and ’81. He was a sparkplug for the 1983 White Sox playoff team and scored the winning run that clinched the team’s first postseason appearance since 1959. He had a career .237/.321/.299 slash line and later joined the Mariners Spanish language broadcast team. Cruz, 67, died from cancer on February 22.

John Cumberland – As a pitching instructor, John Cumberland stressed the 4 C’s – confidence, control, concentration and command. He even wrote a book with that title. Cumberland pitched for 6 years in the majors from 1968-74, for the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and California Angels. He spent more than 4 decades in baseball as a player and instructor. Cumberland died on April 5 at the age of 74.

Tommy Davis – In his 18-year career, Tommy Davis was a 3-time All-Star and a 2-time batting champ, leading the National League with a .346 batting average in 1962 and a .326 mark in 1963. That year, he was also part of the 1963 champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Davis also played for the New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Kansas City Royals before retiring in 1976. He was a career .294 hitter and had 153 home runs among his 2,121 hits. Davis died on April 3, about two weeks after his 83rd birthday.

Ike Delock – Pitcher Ike Delock won 84 games over his 11-year pitching career, spent mostly with the Boston Red Sox. He reached the majors in 1952 and ended it with a handful of games for the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles in 1963. He also has a place in baseball lore as the pitcher who gave up Henry Aaron’s first home run in a major-league uniform. It happened during spring training in 1954, when Aaron was a young Milwaukee Brave. Used as both a reliever and a starter, Delock had a 84-75 record with 31 saves and a 4.03 ERA in his career. He died from dementia on February 28. Delock was 92 years old.

Don Dillard – Outfielder Don Dillard played for the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Braves between 1959 and 1965, hitting .244 with 14 home runs in 272 games. Dillard came up through the South Carolina textile leagues like another South Carolinian, Shoeless Joe Jackson. After baseball, he ran the successful Dillard’s Lake Resort in Greenwood, S.C. He died on his 85th birthday, on January 8.

Denny Doyle – Second baseman Denny Doyle reached the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1970 as part of a rookie double play combo with Larry Bowa. After a few lean seasons offensively, Doyle was traded to the California Angels and later the Boston Red Sox, ending his career in 1977. He had a 22-game hitting streak in 1975 and helped the Red Sox reach the World Series, though they ultimately lost to Cincinnati in 7 games. Doyle was also a long-time baseball instructor who ran a successful school with his brothers. He died on December 20 at age 78.

George Elder – George Elder lived up to his name, as he was the oldest living ballplayer at the time of his death on July 7. He was 101 years old. Elder played in 41 games for the St. Louis Browns in 1949 and had 11 hits for a .250/.313/.318 slash line. He was also a World War II veteran and saw action in the Marine Corps, including fighting at Iwo Jima.

John Ellis – Catcher/first baseman John Ellis reached the majors in 1969 with the New York Yankees and played until 1981, spending time with the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. The rough-and-tumble Ellis slashed .262/.312/.392 with 69 home runs over his 13 years in the majors. He built a successful real estate business in Connecticut in the latter days of his career. After battling lymphoma, he and his wife started the Connecticut Cancer Foundation, which supports cancer patients and their families. Ellis died from a recurrence of cancer on April 5, at age 73.

Dick Ellsworth – Dick Ellsworth had the misfortune of being a good pitcher on some bad Chicago Cubs teams in the early 1960s. He reached the majors in 1958 as a high school phenom and stuck in the majors for good from 1960 until 1971. Ellsworth pitched for the Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers. He had a 115-137 record and 3.72 ERA. He won 22 games for the Cubs in 1963 and was an All-Star in 1964. Ellsworth later became a part owner of the minor-league Fresno Grizzlies. He died on October 10 at age 82.

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5 thoughts on “2022 In Memoriam (Part 1)

  1. Don’t know if word has reached but Harry Dunlop passed Nov 16. Long time MLB coach and a very noteable minor league career, in particular as catcher for the 1952 Bristol Twins.

    Liked by 1 person

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