Baseball loses some of collective family

Baseball loses some of collective family

The baseball world suffered a number of significant losses in 2005, including a Hall of Fame manager, two award-winning sportswriters, several popular broadcasters and a legend of the Negro Leagues. As a tribute to their collective accomplishments, here are the most notable baseball figures who passed away during the last 12 months.

Elrod "Ellie" Hendricks (Died on Dec. 21 in Baltimore at age 64): A fixture in the Baltimore Orioles' organization for 37 years as a player and bullpen coach, Hendricks broke into the Major Leagues in 1968. Two years later, the left-handed-hitting catcher contributed to a world championship, platooning with Andy Etchebarren behind the plate. In 1972, the Orioles traded Hendricks to the Chicago Cubs, but he returned to Baltimore the following season. After being dealt to the New York Yankees in 1976, the well-liked Hendricks returned to the Orioles in 1978, this time for good. After his retirement as a player, the Orioles made him a full-time coach, a position that he held through 2005. A stroke suffered by Hendricks earlier this year prompted the Orioles to announce plans to reassign him to a non-coaching role.

Barry Halper (Died on Dec. 18 in Livingston, N.J. at age 66): A limited partner of the New York Yankees, Halper owned one of the world's largest and most impressive collections of baseball memorabilia. In 1998, he sold nearly 20 percent of his 80,000-piece collection to Major League Baseball, which then donated the artifacts to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The artifacts included the ball that Babe Ruth hit for his 500th career home run and vintage uniforms worn by Negro Leagues greats Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

Vic Power (Died on Nov. 29 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico at age 78): Widely regarded as one of the finest defensive first basemen of all-time, Power won seven Gold Gloves and played on four All-Star teams during a 12-year stint in the Major Leagues. Originally a product of the New York Yankees' farm system, Power was traded to the Philadelphia A's, reportedly because of his romantic involvement with a woman of Caucasian descent. After playing parts of five seasons for the Philadelphia and Kansas City A's, the flashy-fielding Power was traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of a deal for Roger Maris. Shortly after joining the Indians, Power made headlines when he stole home twice in a single game. Known for his one-handed style of fielding, the colorful Power finished his career with a .284 batting average, 126 home runs, and 658 RBIs.

Sandy Consuegra (Died on Nov. 16 in Miami at age 85): Part of a wave of Cuban players signed by the Washington Senators in the 1950s, Consuegra enjoyed his best season in 1954, when he went 16-3 and made the American League All-Star team.

Al Lopez (Died on Oct. 30 in Miami at age 97): The oldest living Hall of Fame member, the gentlemanly Lopez was considered a fair-minded, thinking man's field manager. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Indians won a then American League record 111 games in 1954 before losing to the New York Giants in the World Series. Five years later, Lopez guided the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox to the American League pennant, the franchise's first since 1919. Lopez's pennant-winning seasons of 1954 and 1959 broke up an incredible run for the New York Yankees, who managed to win all other AL pennants from 1949 to 1964. Lopez would complete his managerial career with a .581 winning percentage and over 1,400 career wins, helping him gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1977.

Prior to his managing career, Lopez established himself as one of the game's best and most durable catchers. During a 19-year career that included two All-Star Game selections, Lopez caught 1,918 games, a Major League record that was eventually broken by Bob Boone and Carlton Fisk.

Bob Broeg (Died on Oct. 28 in St. Louis at age 87): Considered one of the deans of baseball writing, Broeg served as a longtime sports editor and columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. After serving as a beat writer for the St. Louis Browns, he switched to the St. Louis Cardinals beat in 1946, remaining in that position for the next dozen seasons. Known for his trademark bow ties and booming laugh, Broeg won the Hall of Fame's Spink Award for outstanding contributions to baseball writing in 1979.

Harry Dalton (Died on Oct. 23 in Carefree, Ariz., at age 77): A longtime Major League executive, Dalton served as general manager for the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, and Milwaukee Brewers, with five of his teams reaching the World Series. In his most famous trade, occurring during his tenure with the Orioles, Dalton acquired Frank Robinson from the Cincinnati Reds for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun, and Harry Simpson.

Hal Lebovitz (Died on Oct. 18 in Cleveland at age 89): A highly respected sportswriter, Lebovitz was best known for his long-running "Ask Hal The Referee" column, in which he answered reader questions pertaining to sports rules. In 2000, Lebovitz received national acclaim when he earned the Hall of Fame's Spink Award. A fixture in the Cleveland area, the gentlemanly Lebovitz began his writing career in 1938.

Bill King (Died on Oct. 17; at age 78): A legendary broadcaster on the West Coast, King developed a cult following among fans of the Oakland A's and other professional teams in the Bay Area. The colorful King broadcast games for many Bay Area franchises, including the A's and the San Francisco Giants. Highly respected as an innovative wordsmith, King was at the microphone when the A's won their most recent world championship in 1989.

Tom Cheek (Died on Oct. 12 in Oldsmar, Fla. at age 66): Known for a straight-laced broadcasting style that avoided the use of catch-phrases, the workmanlike Cheek broadcast every Toronto Blue Jays game from the franchise's inception in 1977 through June 3, 2004. Having previously worked radio broadcasts for the Montreal Expos, Cheek became an iconic figure in Toronto. His broadcasting streak included 4,306 regular season games and 41 postseason matchups.

Mario Encarnacion (Died on Oct. 3 in Taiwan at age 30): At one time a top prospect in the Oakland A's organization, Encarnacion was playing for the Macoto Cobras of the Chinese Professional Baseball League at the time of his death. Encarnacion played briefly in the Major Leagues, appearing for the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs in 2001 and 2002.

Pat Kelly (Died on Oct. 2 in Chambersburg, Pa. at age 61): A veteran of 15 Major League seasons, Kelly gained as much notoriety for his relationship to football star and NFL Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly -- his brother -- and for his post-playing career as an ordained minister. A speedy outfielder who stole 250 bases, Kelly made his Major League debut in 1967 with the Minnesota Twins, the first of five big league stops. A patient hitter and accomplished baserunner, he enjoyed his most productive seasons with the Chicago White Sox, including his lone All-Star Game berth in 1973.

Joe Bauman (Died on Sept. 20 in Roswell, N.M., at age 83): Although he never played a game in the Major Leagues, Bauman became well known because of his legendary Minor League exploits, which included 337 career home runs. In 1954, Bauman set a professional record by clubbing 72 home runs, a mark that stood until Barry Bonds' historic season of 73 home runs in 2001. Bauman's power display for the Roswell Rockets of the Class C Longhorn League overshadowed another impressive milestone -- a .400 batting average for the season.

Marv Grissom (Died on Sept. 19 in Red Bluff, Calif., at age 87): A one-time All-Star, Grissom was a journeyman pitcher who toiled for several teams, including the New York and San Francisco Giants, during a career included a long stint in the Army during World War II. His best season occurred in 1954, when he notched a career-high 19 saves and won a World Series game in relief. He later became the first pitching coach in the history of the Angels.

Donn Clendenon: (Died on Sept. 17 in Sioux Falls, S.D., at age 70): During a 12-year career in the Major Leagues, "Big Train" batted .274 with 159 home runs and 682 RBIs. Though best known for winning the MVP of the 1969 World Series for the upstart New York Mets, Clendenon's best seasons came with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he debuted in 1961. In 1966, the slugging first baseman hit a career-high 28 home runs and batted .299.

Charlie Williams: (Died on Sept. 15 in Oak Lawn, Ill., at age 61): The first black umpire to work home plate during a World Series game, Williams made history when he called balls and strikes in Game 4 of the 1993 Series. The marathon game set a World Series record, lasting four hours and 14 minutes. Williams also worked two All-Star games and two Championship Series.

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (Died on Aug. 11 in Chicago at age 103): One of the most colorful and well-known personalities in the Negro Leagues, Radcliffe was a standout catcher, pitcher, and manager during a long professional career. A six-time All-Star, Radcliffe earned three appearances as a pitcher and three as a catcher. During the 1932 Negro Leagues World Series, Radcliffe caught the first game of a doubleheader and then pitched a shutout in the second game, earning the nickname "Double Duty" from a sportswriter who was covering the Series. The nickname stuck, often replacing his given name in newspaper references.

During a well-traveled career that spanned from the 1920s to the 1950s, Radcliffe played for 15 Negro Leagues teams, including the Homestead Grays, Kansas City Monarchs, and Pittsburgh Crawfords. In 1945, Radcliffe became the roommate of Jackie Robinson, who would break the Major League color barrier only two years later.

Gene Mauch (Died on Aug. 8 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 79): A longtime manager who worked nearly 4,000 games in the Major Leagues, Mauch was highly regarded for his baseball intellect. Known for his love of the sacrifice bunt, he was one of the first managers to master the use of the double switch in National League play. Mauch was perhaps best remembered for overseeing the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, who led the NL by 6 1/2 games with two weeks remaining, but lost 10 games in a row to lose the pennant. A three-time selection as NL Manager of the Year, Mauch compiled 1,901 Major League wins, placing him 16th on the all-time list.

Ray Cunningham (Died on July 30 in Pearland, Texas, at age 100): At the time of his death, Cunningham was the oldest living Major League player, having celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 17. After signing with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Cunningham appeared in parts of the 1931 and '32 seasons. Primarily a third baseman, Cunningham was a onetime roommate of Dizzy Dean and Pepper Martin.

Dick Sipek (Died on July 17 in Quincy, Ill., at age 82): One of a handful of deaf players to appear in the Major Leagues, Sipek played in 82 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1945.

Mickey Owen (Died on July 13 in Mt. Vernon, Mo., at age 89): Though best remembered for dropping a third strike in the 1941 World Series against the New York Yankees, Owen was a skilled defensive catcher who earned four All-Star Game nods during the World War II era. After debuting with the St. Louis Cardinals, Owen was later traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he became the team's No. 1 catcher. During the 1941 World Series, Owen's glovework failed at an inopportune time. With Brooklyn clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth of Game 4, Owen dropped what should have been a game-ending third strike to Tommy Henrich. Given a reprieve, Henrich reached base, setting the stage for a dramatic comeback. In 1946, Owen made headlines again by jumping the Major Leagues to join the Mexican League. The move resulted in a three-year ban from the Majors. After his playing days, Owen became a scout and formed one of the most successful baseball schools in the country.

Dick Dietz (Died on June 28 in Dillard, Ga., at age 63): A power-hitting catcher with a patient approach at the plate, Dietz played for the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Atlanta Braves from 1966 through 1973.

Although Dietz hit only .261 with 66 home runs and 301 RBIs in eight seasons, he played at an All-Star level in 1970, when he reached career highs with a .300 average, 22 home runs, and 107 RBIs. Playing in that year's All-Star Game, Dietz led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run against Hall of Famer Jim "Catfish" Hunter.

Bob Lennon (Died on June 14 in Dix Hills, N.Y., at age 76): Regarded as one of the greatest Minor League hitters of all-time, Lennon made national headlines in 1954, when he batted .354 with 64 home runs and 161 RBIs for Nashville of the Southern Association. Lennon's Ruthian numbers earned him the league's Triple Crown -- and a late-season promotion to the New York Giants, where he played sparingly before being traded in 1957.

Pedro "J.P." Villaman (Died on May 30 near Boston at age 46): A native of the Dominican Republic, the popular Spanish-language broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox died in a car crash while returning to Boston from a series in New York. Villaman was in his eighth season as the Spanish play-by-play voice for the Red Sox.

Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel (Died on May 26 in Caracas, Venezuela, at age 77): A pioneer in Latin American baseball, the slick-fielding Carrasquel was the first Latin-born player to appear in a Major League All-Star Game. In 1950, the flashy Venezuelan made his big league debut for the Chicago White Sox while facing the additional burden of having to replace Hall of Famer Luke Appling as the team's starting shortstop. Blessed with great range and smooth hands, Carrasquel remained with the White Sox until the middle of the decade, when he was traded to the Cleveland Indians to make room for another budding Venezuelan star, Luis Aparicio.

Charlie Muse (Died on May 5 in Sun City, Fla., at age 87): Muse never played in the Major Leagues, but made a key contribution by helping to create a vital piece of equipment. A Pittsburgh Pirates executive, Muse was given the assignment of devising a protective batting helmet. Fulfilling the request of general manager Branch Rickey, Muse helped create a helmet that Pirates players first began to use in 1952 and '53.

Earl Wilson (Died on April 23 in Detroit at age 70): Widely regarded as one of the greatest hitting pitchers of all-time, Wilson was also an effective right-hander for the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers during the 1960s. In 1967, Wilson flourished under the tutelage of Tigers pitching coach Johnny Sain, winning a career-high 22 games to match the total of Cy Young Award winner Jim Lonborg. Though Wilson never again duplicated such success, he remained an effective No. 3 starter for the Tigers in 1968, helping the team win the World Championship. Originally a power-hitting catcher before being moved to the mound, Wilson hit 35 career home runs, the fourth highest total among pitchers.

After his playing days, Wilson remained a key figure. From 2000 to 2004, he served as the president and CEO of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), an organization dedicated to helping former players who have fallen on hard times. Wilson was working as BAT's vice president at the time of his death.

Bob Zuk (Died on April 9 in San Bernardino, Calif., at age 77): A professional scout for over 40 years, Zuk signed three Hall of Famers during an illustrious career. His notable signings included Reggie Jackson, whom Zuk tabbed for the Kansas City A's; Willie Stargell, whom he signed for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Gary Carter, whom Zuk signed while with the Montreal Expos. On Jan. 8, Zuk received the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award for his scouting efforts.

Bob Kennedy (Died on April 7 in Mesa, Ariz., at age 84): A versatile talent who played, managed, and worked in the front office, Kennedy managed the Chicago Cubs in the mid-1960s and later became the first skipper in the history of the Oakland A's. Kennedy's Major League career began in 1939, when he debuted for the Chicago White Sox at the age of 18. Establishing himself as a serviceable utilityman, Kennedy hit .254 with 63 home runs during a 16-year career that was interrupted by World War II.

Bob Casey (Died on March 27 in Minneapolis at age 79): One of the game's most colorful public address announcers, Casey developed a rabid following in the Twin Cities. A P.A. man for 44 years in the Major Leagues, Casey began his broadcasting career in 1951 with the Minor League Minneapolis Millers. In 1961, Casey moved up to the Major Leagues when the Washington Senators relocated to the Twin Cities. Working at Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome, Casey became well known for his high-pitched, exaggerated introductions of Minnesota Twins players, including Kirby Puckett and Chuck Knoblauch.

Marius Russo (Died on March 26 in Ft. Myers, Fla., at age 90): Nicknamed "Lefty," the former New York Yankees pitcher debuted in the Major Leagues in 1939 and then won 14 games in each of the following two seasons. Russo achieved All-Star status in 1941, when he also appeared in the World Series. Russo won each of his starts in the '41 and '43 Series, giving him a record of 2-0 and an ERA of 0.50 in 18 postseason innings.

Dick Radatz (Died on March 17 in Easton, Mass., at age 67): One of the most colorful characters of the 1960s, the six-foot-five Radatz was a hard-throwing reliever who pitched his best years for the Boston Red Sox. In four seasons with Boston, Radatz saved 104 games, often pitching two or three innings at a time, while establishing a reputation as one of the game's most feared firemen. Nicknamed "The Monster" because of his imposing size and fastball, the overpowering Radatz earned All-Star Game selections in 1963 and '64. Later plagued by arm troubles, Radatz completed a shortened seven-year career with 122 saves and an ERA of 3.13.

Chuck Thompson (Died on March 6 in Baltimore at age 83): An iconic figure in the Baltimore area, Thompson won the Hall of Fame's Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 1993. Known for his mellifluous voice and smooth play-by-play, Thompson broadcast Orioles games over the span of five decades. Thompson began his Orioles career in 1955 and remained a part-time broadcaster for the team in the 1990s.

Danny Gardella (Died on March 5 in Yonkers, N.Y., at age 85): An outfielder who batted .267 during a 169-game Major League career, Gardella was best known for being one of the players who challenged baseball's reserve clause. The outfielder signed a contract with the Mexican League for nearly double the salary being offered by the New York Giants. The Commissioner's office suspended Gardella and the other players, but the former Giants outfielder filed a lawsuit, earned a settlement in the case, and eventually made a brief one-game return with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Rick Mahler (Died on March 2 in Jupiter, Fla., at age 51): A right-hander who pitched mostly with the Atlanta Braves, Mahler won 96 games over a 13-year span in the Major Leagues. Mahler enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 1985, when he posted a record of 17-15 and a solid 3.48 ERA in 266 innings for a Braves team that won only 66 games. At the time of his death, Mahler was working as a Minor League pitching coach in the New York Mets organization.

Paul C. Smith (Died on Feb. 27 in Florida at age 46): Smith, a truly likable, talented member of the Tampa-area sports media, admirably covered the Devil Rays for and for the official site of the ballclub. A former sports editor of the Tampa Tribune, Smith was one of the first hires after's launch in 2001, becoming one of the foundations for the company's success and growth.

Nick Colosi (Died on Feb. 25 in New York City): Boasting a diversified resume that featured employment in nightclubs and baseball, Colosi worked as a maitre d' at the famed Copacabana in New York City before changing careers and becoming a professional umpire. Known for his old-school toughness, Colosi served as a National League umpire from 1968 to 1982, continuing his on-field career despite a 1979 heart attack. Colosi entered the spotlight in Game 1 of the 1975 World Series, when he called a controversial balk on Boston Red Sox ace Luis Tiant. Colosi also umpired the 1981 World Series and was selected to work the All-Star Game in 1971, '74, and 1980.

Nelson Briles (Died on Feb. 13 in Orlando, Fla., at age 61): The popular director of corporate projects for the Pittsburgh Pirates died while playing golf at one of the team's alumni events. During a 14-year pitching career that included stops with the Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers, Briles won 129 games and posted a 3.44 ERA. The popular and well-spoken right-hander pitched for two World Championship teams: the 1967 Cardinals and the 1971 Pirates. The highlight of Briles' career came in Game 5 of the 1971 World Series, when he pitched a two-hitter to bring the Pirates within one game of a monumental upset of the Baltimore Orioles.

Bill Voiselle (Died on Jan. 31 in Greenwood, S.C., at age 86): Nicknamed "Ninety Six" in tribute to his boyhood home of Ninety Six, S.C., Voiselle won a career-high 21 games for the New York Giants in 1944. The workhorse right-hander also pitched 312 innings that year, making him the last rookie to log 300 or more innings in his debut season.

Cesar "Cocoa" Gutierrez (Died on Jan. 22 in Maracaibo, Venezuela, at age 61): Although mostly a light-hitting utility player during his career, Gutierrez gained a permanent piece of fame when he collected seven hits in seven consecutive at-bats for the Detroit Tigers on June 21, 1970. With his six singles and one double in a 12-inning game against the Cleveland Indians, Gutierrez tied a Major League record for most consecutive hits without making an out, a mark that was later matched by Rennie Stennett.

Here are other notables who died in 2005:

• Bob Allen, 91 -- pitcher, MLB
• Monty Basgall, 83 -- coach and second baseman, MLB
• Don Blasingame, 73 -- second baseman, MLB, and Japanese Leagues manager
• Ted Bonda, 88 -- Cleveland Indians owner
• Lyman Bostock, Sr., 87 -- first baseman, Negro Leagues
• William "Bud" Black, 73 -- pitcher, MLB
• Bob Carpenter, 87 -- pitcher, MLB
• Brandy Davis, 76 -- outfielder, MLB
• Pete Gebrian, 81 -- pitcher, MLB
• Al Gettel, 87 -- pitcher, MLB
• Louis "Sea Boy" Gillis, 80 -- catcher, Negro Leagues
• Milt Graff, 74 -- second baseman, MLB
• Hal Griggs, 76 -- pitcher, MLB
• Kent Hadley, 70 -- first baseman, MLB
• Eli Hodkey, 87 -- pitcher, MLB
• Cal Hogue, 77 -- pitcher, MLB
• Frank "Pig" House, 75 -- Alabama state legislator and catcher, MLB
• Bennie Huffman, 90 -- scout and catcher, MLB
• Byron "Mex" Johnson, 94 -- shortstop, Negro Leagues
• Vic Johnson, 84 -- pitcher, MLB
• Don "Ducky" LeJohn, 70 -- third baseman, MLB, and Minor League manager
• Walt Lundy, 69 -- infielder/outfielder, Negro Leagues
• Mal Mallette, 83 -- pitcher, MLB
• Bob Mavis, 86 -- pinch-runner, MLB
• Eddie Miksis, 78 -- infielder, MLB
• Al Milnar, 91 -- pitcher, MLB
• Herb Moford, 77 -- pitcher, MLB
• Ron Mrozinski, 75 -- pitcher, MLB
• Jim Pearce, 80 -- pitcher, MLB
• Don Rowe, 70 -- coach and pitcher, MLB
• Luis Sanchez, 51 -- pitcher, MLB
• Carroll Sembera, 64 -- pitcher, MLB
• Frank Smith, 77 -- pitcher, MLB
• Lee Stine, 91 -- pitcher, MLB
• Mike "Slugs" Ulisney, 87 -- catcher, MLB
• Harold "Corky" Valentine, 76 -- pitcher, MLB
• Walter Ward, 42 -- Atlanta Braves director of communications
• Ken Weafer, 91 -- pitcher, MLB
• Al Widmar, 80 -- coach and pitcher, MLB
• Clyde "Lefty" Williams, 85 -- pitcher, Negro Leagues
• Frank "Noodles" Zupo, 65 -- MLB

Bruce Markusen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.