Recent Baseball Deaths—Part III

Here’s the final installment, for now, of my Recent Baseball Deaths series, chronicling those Major League Baseball passings that have occurred within the past couple months. See here for Part I and here for Part II.

Jesse Jefferson – Died September 8, aged 62
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1973-1975), Chicago White Sox (1975-1976), Toronto Blue Jays (1977-1980), Pittsburgh Pirates (1980), California Angels (1981)
Notes: Went 39-81 with a 4.81 ERA in nine-year career…best season was 1981—in 77 innings, he had a 3.62 ERA…completed nine games in 1978…won 40 games at minor league level

Bill Taylor – Died September 15, aged 81
Position: Outfielder
Teams:
New York Giants (1954-1957), Detroit Tigers (1957-1958)
Notes:
Hit .237 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in five-year career…slugged .516 for Giants in 1955…hit .348 for Tigers in 1957 and .375 for Tigers in 1958…hit .311 with 186 home runs in minors

Danny Litwhiler – Died September 23, aged 95
Position: Leftfielder
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies (1940-1943), St. Louis Cardinals (1944, 1946), Boston Braves (1946-1948), Cincinnati Reds (1948-1951)
Notes: Hit .281 with 107 home runs and 451 RBI in 11-year career…1942 All-Star…oldest former Red and Philadelphia Blue Jay at the time of his passing…fought in World War II…first big league outfielder to play 150-plus games without an error

Eddie Bockman – Died September 29, aged 91
Position: Third baseman
Teams: New York Yankees (1946), Cleveland Indians (1947), Pittsburgh Pirates (1948-1949)
Notes: Hit .230 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI in four-year career…traded for Dutch Meyer in 1946…managed in minor leagues for four years…scouted for Philadelphia Phillies, signing Bob Boone and Larry Bowa

Johnny Schmitz – Died October 1, aged 90
Position: Pitcher
Teams:
Chicago Cubs (1941-1942, 1946-1951), Brooklyn Dodgers (1951-1952), New York Yankees (1952, 1953), Cincinnati Reds (1952), Washington Senators (1953-1955), Boston Red Sox (1956), Baltimore Orioles (1956)
Notes: Went 93-114 with a 3.55 ERA in 13-year career…All-Star in 1946 and 1948…won at least 10 games six times, at least 15 games once…threw only one pitch in major league debut…wore a single-digit number in 1941, a rarity for a pitcher

John Romonosky – Died October 2, aged 82
Position: Pitcher
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (1953), Washington Senators (1958-1959)
Notes: Went 3-4 with 5.15 ERA in 32 big league games…decent hitter, posted .231 batting average…best year was 1959—he went 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 12 games…fought in Korean War

Ralph Hodgin – Died October 4, aged 96
Position: Outfielder/third baseman
Teams:
Boston Braves (1939), Chicago White Sox (1943-1944, 1946-1948)
Notes:
Hit .285 with four home runs and 188 RBI in six-year career…White Sox’ starting third baseman in 1943 and 1944…struck out only 63 times in 1,689 at-bats (26.8 AB/K)…played in minors for 16 seasons, hitting .307 with 2,148 hits

Cy Buker – Died October 11, aged 92
Position: Pitcher
Teams:
Brooklyn Dodgers (1945)
Notes:
Went 7-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 42 games in only big league season…won 42 games at minor league level…played eight years in minors…served in American military during World War II, but was discharged due to asthma

Don Williams – Died October 16, aged 80
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1958-1959), Kansas City Athletics (1962)
Notes:
Went 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 big league games…identical twin brother Dewie played in minor leagues…fought during Korean War…went 66-45 in nine minor league seasons

Merritt Ranew – Died October 18, aged 73
Position: Catcher
Teams:
Houston Colt .45s (1962), Chicago Cubs (1963-1964), Milwaukee Braves (1964), California Angels (1965), Seattle Pilots (1969)
Notes: Hit .247 with eight home runs and 54 RBI in five-year career…hit .338 in 78 games in 1963…spent 14 years in minors, hitting .286 with 915 hits…hit .340 or better twice at minor league level

Roy Smalley – Died October 22, aged 85
Position:
Shortstop
Teams:
Chicago Cubs (1948-1953), Milwaukee Braves (1954), Philadelphia Phillies (1955-1958)
Notes: Hit .227 with 61 home runs and 305 RBI in 11-year career…slugged 21 dingers for Cubs in 1950…traded for pitcher Dave Cole in 1954…replaced by Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks…managed in the minors

Bert Cueto – Died October 25, aged 74
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Minnesota Twins (1961)
Notes: Went 1-3 with 7.17 ERA in seven games…first four batters he faced were all studs: Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso and Roy Sievers in that order…first six batters he faced were all All-Stars at one point

Dave Cole – Died October 26, aged 81
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Boston Braves (1950-1952), Milwaukee Braves (1953), Chicago Cubs (1954), Philadelphia Phillies (1955)
Notes:
Went 6-18 with a 4.93 ERA in six-year career…posted 1.13 ERA in first big league stint… hit .230 with three home runs in 61 at-bats…pitched six years in minors, winning 32 games

Ricky Adams – Died October 28, aged 52
Position: Infielder
Teams: California Angels (1982-1983), San Francisco Giants (1985)
Notes: Hit .215 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 120 games…best year was arguably 1983, when he hit .250 in 58 games…spent 11 years in the minors, hitting .276…hit over .300 at minor league level three times

Mickey Scott – Died October 30, aged 64
Position: Relief pitcher
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1972-1973), Montreal Expos (1973), California Angels (1975-1977)
Notes: Went 8-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 133 appearances…never started a game at big league level…posted 2.74 ERA in first season, 3.27 mark between 1975 and 1976…spent nine years in minors, going 60-32 with a 3.20 ERA

Houston Astros prospect Dustin Kellogg, All-American Girls Professional League player Joan Jaykowski, Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner and Negro Leaguers Bill “Ready” Cash and Sonny Smith passed away recently as well.

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