Tom Flanigan – Lefty pitcher Tom Flanigan had two stints in the major leagues, with the Chicago White Sox in 1954 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1958. He appeared in a total of 3 games and gave up an earned run (a Cal Neeman homer) in 2-2/3 innings for a 3.38 ERA. When his minor-league team tried to cut his salary in half in 1959, he retired at the age of 24 and went back to Kentucky and a job in an insurance company. He died at the age of 88 on December 8.
Ken Frailing – Between 1972 and 1976, Ken Frailing appeared in 116 games with both Chicago teams, the Cubs and White Sox. He was part of the December 1973 trade that sent Cubs legend Ron Santo to the White Sox. Frailing’s busiest year was 1974, when he appeared in 55 games with the Cubs, including 16 starts, and had a 6-9 record. Overall, he had a 10-16 record and a 3.96 ERA. Frailing died on August 25 at the age of 74.
John Gamble – John Gamble appeared in 13 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1972 & ’73 — 11 times as a pinch-runner. Gamble was 0-for-3 with a run scored in those games, but that one run was the running run in a 6-5 win over Boston in 1973. He later coached baseball and softball in Nevada and worked for the city of Reno in parks and recreation. Gamble died on September 1 at the age of 74.
George Gerberman – George Gerberman was the starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs when they suffered their 100th loss in 1962. It was his only major-league appearance. Gerberman faced the Mets on September 23 and walked 5 batters, but gave up just 1 run on a home run by Frank Thomas. He got a no-decision in the game the Mets won 2-1. It was the first time the Cubs had reached 100 losses in franchise history. Gerberman pitched in the minors until 1968 and retired to work in his family business, Gerberman Jewelers in El Campo, Texas. Gerberman, 79, died on January 7.
Jeremy Giambi – The younger brother of slugger Jason Giambi, Jeremy was a power hitter as well, for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox. He hit 52 homers from 1998 to 2003, including 20 with the A’s and Phillies in 2002. Injuries and his involvement in the PED scandal of the 2000s brought his career to an end after 6 seasons. Giambi died by suicide on February 9 in Claremont, Calif. He was 47 years old.
David Green – A multi-tool outfielder, Green was compared to the likes of Roberto Clemente when he was traded from the Padres to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980. He reached the majors in 1981 and was a part of the 1982 World Series winning team. He struggled with alcoholism and the stress of leaving his family in a dangerous situation in Nicaragua, and his career ended after a year with the San Francisco Giants in 1985 and a brief return to the Cardinals in 1987. In 489 games, Green slashed .268/.308/.394 with 31 homers and 68 stolen bases. Green died on January 25 at the age of 61.
Bill Haller – Bill Haller was an American League umpire for 21 seasons and part of a unique brother combination. On July 14, 1972, he called a game with brother Tom Haller as the Detroit Tigers catcher, and it is the only time that siblings worked a game as a catcher and umpire. Haller also had memorable run-ins with Baltimore manager Earl Weaver, including a 1980 argument that can be found on YouTube. Haller died on August 20 at 87 years old.
Buddy Harris – Buddy Harris was a star athlete in his home state of Pennsylvania, particularly in basketball — he was 6’7″ tall. But he chose baseball as his career and pitched in 22 games for the Houston Astros in 1970 & ’71. He had a 1-1 record and 6.32 ERA, with 23 strikeouts in 37 innings. Harris returned to Pennsylvania after his playing career and became a successful businessman. Harris died on December 5, a month shy of his 74th birthday.
Rudy Hernandez – Dominican pitcher Rudy Hernandez is one of three ballplayers who played for two different Washington Senators franchises in consecutive seasons. He played for the original Senators in 1960 and was drafted by the expansion Senators for the 1961 season. He appeared in a total of 28 games, with a 4-2 record and 4.12 ERA. Hernandez lived in Puerto Rico in his retirement and died there on November 23. He was 90 years old.
Dave Hillman – Pitcher Dave Hillman was the oldest living Cincinnati Red and New York Met when he died on November 20 at the age of 95. Hillman also pitched for the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox in a career that lasted from 1955-62. He had a 21-37 record and a 3.87 ERA in those 8 seasons, with 8 complete games and 3 saves.
Joe Horlen – Joe Horlen was an All-Star pitcher for the Chicago White Sox in 1967, a year he won 19 games and led the AL with a 2.06 ERA and 6 shutouts. He also no-hit the Detroit Tigers on September 10, 1967. Horlen played for the White Sox from 1961 to 1971 and spent a season with the Oakland Athletics in 1972. Horlen had a 116-117 record and a 3.11 ERA in his 12-year career, and he struck out 1,065 batters. Horlen was a home builder in San Antonio, Texas, and he also had a lengthy career as a minor-league pitching coach. He died on April 10 at the age of 84.
Jeff Innis – With his unconventional sidearm delivery, Innis was one of the more distinctive relievers of the 1980s and ’90s. He pitched for the New York Mets from 1987 to 1993, making 288 appearances — all but one of which came out of the bullpen. Innis had a 10-20 record and 3.05 ERA, and he recorded 5 saves as well. Innis died of cancer on January 30 in Dawsonville, Ga. He was 59 years old.
Calvin Jones – Calvin Jones spent two seasons with the Seattle Mariners, 1991 and 1992, as a reliever. He appeared in 65 games and had a 5-7 record and 4.33 ERA. He also recorded 2 saves. His biggest victory may have come from his days as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pushed for the team to make Clayton Kershaw the team’s top draft pick in 2006 and signed the future Dodgers star to his first pro contract. Jones died from cancer on February 12 at the age of 58.
George Kernek – Oklahoma native George Kernek was a basketball player at the University of Oklahoma, but he reached the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965 and 1966 as a first baseman. He played in 30 games with a .259/.318/.346 slash line and briefly held the starting first baseman role in 1966 before the Cardinals acquired Orlando Cepeda from San Francisco. Kernek died at the age of 82 on August 14.
Fred Lasher – Fred Lasher had a sidearm delivery that gave him the nickname of “The Whip.” He pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 1963 and was exiled to the minors when he wouldn’t adopt a more conventional delivery. Lasher’s career was rescued by the Detroit Tigers, and he returned to the majors in 1967 and pitched until 1971, also appearing with the Cleveland Indians and California Angels. Lasher had a career 11-13 record with 22 saves and a 3.88 ERA, and he was part of the Tigers’ 1968 World Champion team as a reliever. Lasher died on February 27 at the age of 80.
Carl Linhart – Carl Linhart was the last surviving member of the 1952 Detroit Tigers team and was one of just a handful of players born in what today is known as Slovakia. He appeared in 3 games with the Tigers in ’52 after spending the previous year in the Air Force. He was hitless in 2 at-bats, though he was a career .285 hitter in his 8-season minor-league career. Linhart died on January 4 at the age of 92.
Mark Littell – Before an elbow injury ended his career, Mark Littell spent 9 seasons in the majors, as a closer for both the Kansas City Royals (1973, 1975-77) and St. Louis Cardinals (1978-82). He saved 56 games in his career, with a high of 16 for the Royals in 1976. Littell may have also invented the entrance song for closers, as the Royals played “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” when he entered ballgames. Post-baseball, Littell invented a different and more comfortable cup called the NuttyBuddy and appeared in videos for it as the character “Captain Ramrod.” Littell died on September 5 from complications related to heart surgery. He was 69 years old.
Bob Locker – Bob Locker appeared in 576 major-league games in his 10-year career, all as a reliever. He held the record for most appearances by a pitcher without a start when he retired after the 1975 season. Locker pitched for the Chicago White Sox, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs and had a career 57-39 record with 95 saves. He had an ERA of 2.75 and a career ERA+ of 122. Locker was a long-time part of the MLBPA and ran a website that advocated for Marvin Miller’s enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Locker died at age 84 on August 15.
Hector Lopez – As a ballplayer, Hector Lopez played in the outfield with the likes of Mantle, Maris and Berra. He played from 1955 to 1966 with the Kansas City Athletics and New York Yankees. He had a lifetime .269/.330/.415 slash line with 1,251 hits, including 136 home runs. Lopez, who was born in Panama, became the first Black manager in professional baseball when he was named skipper of the International League’s Buffalo Bisons in 1968. Lopez died on September 29; he was 93 years old.
Tommy Matchick – Infielder Tommy Matchick was a five-time All-Star in the minor leagues. In the majors, he played for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles in his 6-year career. He won a World Series with the Tigers in 1968, though he was 0-for-3 in the Series itself. Matchick batted .215 in the majors. He died at the age of 78 on January 4.
Bob Miller – Bob G. Miller was a high school bonus baby who jumped right to the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1953. He debuted in the same game as another bonus baby, Al Kaline. After 4 seasons with the Tigers, Miller also appeared with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets in 1962. He pitched in 86 games, including 8 starts, and had a 6-8 record and 4.72 ERA. He had a 2.45 ERA in 32 games for the Tigers in 1954 as an 18 year old. Miller was 96 when he died on May 24.
Cholly Naranjo – Cuban pitcher Lazaro “Cholly” Naranjo entered professional baseball as a teenager and reached the major leagues in 1956 with the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was 22. He pitched in 17 games for the Bucs and had a 1-2 record and 4.46 ERA. He later became a pitching coach in Cuba before returning to Miami, where he lived out the rest of his life. Naranjo died on January 13 from complications of COVID-19. He was 88 years old.
Al Neiger – Lefty pitcher Al Neiger appeared in 6 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960. The 21-year-old pitcher gave up 8 earned runs in 12-2/3 innings for a 5.68 ERA. Neiger was one of the most successful pitchers in the University of Delaware baseball history and is a member of the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Neiger, 83, died on October 3.
Ed Olivares – The father of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Omar Olivares, Ed Olivares was an outfielder and third baseman for the Cardinals in 1960 and 1961. In 24 games, he had 5 hits in 35 at-bats for a .143/.139/.143 slash line. Olivares was a prodigious power hitter in the minor leagues, with 35 homers in 1960 for Winston-Salem and 140 career minor-league home runs. Olivares did some coaching in Puerto Rico and encouraged his son to convert from an outfielder to pitcher. Ed Olivares died on October 14 at the age of 84.
Odalis Perez – Left-handed pitcher Odalis Perez was an All-Star in 2002 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and won 15 games that year, with a 3.00 ERA. Perez had a 10-year career for the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals. He was the pitcher for the first game in Nationals Park history and retired with 73 wins and a 4.46 ERA. Perez suffered a heart attack while working on a ladder at his home in the Dominican Republic on March 10. He was 44 years old.
Gaylord Perry – Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry won 314 games in a 22-year career spent with the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. Perry won a Cy Young Award in both the American and National League, won 20+ games five times and struck out 3,534 batters. He was known for being one of the best spitball pitchers in history, though he was only ejected for doctoring baseballs once in his career. Perry died on December 1 at the age of 84.
Joe Pignatano – A long-time coach in the major leagues, Joe Pignatano also won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a backup catcher in 1959. Pignatano had a 6-year career as a ballplayer, starting in 1957 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and including stops with the Kansas City Athletics, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. He also coached in the majors until 1984 and was the last surviving member of the “Miracle Mets” 1969 coaching staff. He died on May 23 at 92 years old.
Leo Posada – Outfielder Leo Posada played for the Kansas City Athletics from 1960-62. He led the American League in 1961 with 12 sacrifice flies in his only full season in the majors. He appeared in a total of 155 games and had a .256/.326/.371 batting average, with 8 home runs. Posada, who was born in Cuba, was unable to return to his home country after his playing career was over, so he settled in Miami and worked as a minor-league manager and coach. He also helped train his nephew, Yankees star Jorge Posada. Leo Posada died in Miami on June 23 at the age of 88.
Milt Ramirez – Infielder Milt Ramirez played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970 and ’71. He then stayed in the minor leagues before returning to the majors with the Oakland Athletics in 1979. Ramirez appeared in 94 games and slashed .184/.248/.230. His 28 hits included 3 doubles and 2 triples, and he scored 14 runs while driving in 6. He died in his hometown of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, on August 18, at age 72.
Jack Reed – Jack Reed earned the nickname of “Mantle’s Legs” because he frequently replaced the Yankees legend during the late innings of ballgames. Reed played for the Yankees from 1961 to 1963, spending much of his time as a late-inning replacement. His only major-league home run won a 22-inning game in 1962 between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers. Reed died at the age of 89 on November 10.
Win Remmerswaal – Win Remmerswaal was born in The Netherlands and is the only major-league player to have been trained in Europe. Remmerswaal pitched for the Boston Red Sox in 1979 and 1980 and had a 3-1 record with a 5.50 ERA. He pitched in 22 games, all in relief, for the Sox. Remmerswaal suffered a debilitating stroke in 1997 and died in a care facility in The Hague, Netherlands, on July 24. He was 68 years old.