BOSTON, MA- Don "Bear" Bryant, bullpen coach for the Red Sox from 1974-76, passed away on Thursday, January 22 at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL after a brief but serious illness. He was 73.
Bryant spent seven seasons as a major league coach, his first three with the Red Sox. The catcher, who played parts of three seasons in the major leagues, ended his playing career with three years in the Red Sox' farm system, ultimately serving as a player/coach in 1973 for Triple-A Pawtucket under PawSox manager Darrell Johnson. When Johnson took over as Boston's skipper in 1974, Bryant joined him as bullpen coach.
With the Red Sox, Bryant was a part of the 1975 squad that won the American League pennant and served as a coach in the 1976 All-Star Game. From 1977-80, he was reunited with Johnson on the coaching staff for the expansion Seattle Mariners.
Signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1959, Bryant spent 14 seasons playing professionally and saw action in 59 major league games between the Chicago Cubs (1966) and Houston Astros (1969-70). On May 1, 1969, he caught Don Wilson's no-hitter for the Astros in Cincinnati.
Born in Jasper, FL, he had been living in Jacksonville and was survived by his loving wife Judi, his father, who passed away on January 26, his mother, brothers Clyde and Jim, sister Judy, children Darrell, Darren, and Wendy, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be held tomorrow, January 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens in Orange Park, FL. The family will receive visitors beginning at 12:30 p.m.