MLB News: Recent Baseball Deaths – Part I

Since I last wrote about deaths in baseball way back in May, quite a few notable players have passed on – including former All-Stars and even a Hall of Famer. Here’s the rundown of some recently reported passings, ordered by date of death.

Randy Brown – Died April 13, 1998, aged 54
Position: Catcher
Teams: California Angels (1969-1970)
Notes: Died in 1998, though death wasn’t reported until May 2011…hit .138 at major league level…played in 18 games…hit .337 in first professional season…wore number 28…collected first hit off of Marty Pattin

Cardell Camper – Died December 7, 2010, aged 58
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Cleveland Indians (1977)
Notes: Died in December, though death wasn’t reported until May…pitched three games for Indians in 1977, posting a 3.86 ERA…went a combined 25-14 with an ERA below 2.70 in the minors from 1974-1975

Al Grunwald – Died January 18, aged 80
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1955), Kansas City Athletics (1959)
Notes: Pitched in nine games, starting one…was both a pitcher and a first baseman in the minor leagues…hit .250 at the plate…nicknamed “Stretch”…hit as high as .331 in the minors…only “Grunwald” to ever play in the majors

Jim Heise – Died April 21, aged 80
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Washington Senators (1957)
Notes: Pitched eight games for Senators…had 8.05 ERA…won 35 games in the minors…son of big league pitcher Clarence Heise…had 2.52 ERA in minors in 1957…had 2.93 ERA in minors in 1959

Mike Krsnich – Died April 30, aged 79
Left fielder
Teams: Milwaukee Braves (1960, 1962)
Notes: Brother of big league third baseman Rocky Krsnich…hit .333 in 1960 cup of coffee…hit .349 with 33 home runs for Topeka (Western League) in 1957…fought in Korean War…played in Japan

Mel Queen – Died May 11, aged 69
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Cincinnati Reds (1966-1969), California Angels (1970-1972)
Notes: Began career as an outfielder…went 14-8 with a 2.76 ERA for Reds in 1967…went 20-17 with a 3.14 in career…managed Blue Jays in 1997…pitching coach for Blue Jays from 1996 to 1999…batted .179…son of big league pitcher Mel Queen, Sr.

Harmon Killebrew – Died May 17, aged 74
Position: First baseman/third baseman/leftfielder
Teams: Washington Senators (1954-1960), Minnesota Twins (1961-1974), Kansas City Royals (1975)
Notes: Elected to Hall of Fame in 1984…hit 573 home runs with 1,584 RBI in 22-year career…led league in home runs six times, walks four times and RBI three times…nicknamed “Killer”…spent only three years in the minors

Carlos Pascual – Died May 12, aged 80
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Washington Senators (1950)
Notes: Brother of big league pitcher Camilo Pascual…pitched in two big league games, going 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA…completed both games…saw success as an infielder in the minors…hit .350 in 1957…Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame member

Jim Pyburn – died May 21, aged 78
Position: Center fielder
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1955-1957)
Notes: Also spent considerable time at third base…played in 158 games over three years…hit first home run off Dick Brodowski…was a bonus baby…played football at Auburn University

Paul Splittorff – Died May 25, aged 64
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Kansas City Royals (1970-1984)
Notes: Went 166-143 in big league career…won at least 15 games four times and 20 games once…called games for Royals for over 20 years…had 2.79 ERA in the postseason…finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1978

Bill Harris – Died May 27, aged 79
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers (1957), Los Angeles Dodgers (1959)
Notes: Had two cups of coffee at big league level…posted 3.12 ERA in 8.2 innings…won 174 games at minor league level…posted a tiny 0.83 ERA in 294 innings with Miami (Florida International League) in 1952…Canadian Hall of Fame member

Jose Pagan – Died June 7, aged 76
Position: Shortstop/third baseman
Teams: San Francisco Giants (1959-1965), Pittsburgh Pirates (1965-1972), Philadelphia Phillies (1973)
Notes: Hit .316 in postseason…traded for Dick Schofield in 1965…stole as many as 13 bases in a season…coached for Pirates in 1970s…hit .250 with 52 home runs and 372 RBI in 15 big league seasons

Jim Northrup – Died June 8, aged 71
Position: Outfielder
Teams: Detroit Tigers (1964-1974), Montreal Expos (1974), Baltimore Orioles (1974-1975)
Notes: Hit .267 with 153 home runs and 610 RBI in big league career…slugged two home runs with eight RBI in 1968 World Series…received vote for the Hall of Fame in 1981…hit as many as 25 home runs in a season

Executives Dick Walsh, Bill Bergesch and Negro Leaguer Eugene Smith also passed away recently.

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