Jack Bordieri, a righthander who pitched professinally for one season, died June 23, in Wethersfield, Conn. He was 76.
Bordieri made 20 appearances for Cocoa (Florida State) in 1952, posting a 1-4, 6.00 record in 78 innings with one complete game.
Hoyle Bryson, a righthander who spent three seasons in the minors, died Feb. 18 in Hiawassee, Ga. He was 95.
Bryson won 16 games in his first pro season, going 16-10, 3.52 in 220
innings for Tallahassee (Georgia-Florida) in 1938. He split the 1939
season between Tallahassee and Portsmouth (Piedmont), posting a 10-17
combined record, then went 9-7, 3.80 in his final season, spending time
with Portsmouth and Tarboro (Coastal Plain).
Ron Cash, a first baseman who played parts of two seasons with the Tigers, died April 22 in Tampa. He was 59.
From 1967-69, Cash was drafted a total of five different times combined between the January and June drafts prior to finally signing out of Florida State after the Tigers made him a third round pick in the secondary phase of the June 1971 draft. After three seasons in the minors, Cash reached the majors with Detroit in September 1973. He hit .410 in 39 at-bats, and returned to Detroit to open the 1974 season. However, he would make only 20 more appearances for the Tigers, batting .226 in 62 at-bats while also spending time with Evansville (American Association). Cash would play professionally for two more seasons, both in Evansville, retiring after hitting .253 with three home runs in 1976.
Albert Engel, an outfielder who played professionally for two seasons in the 1950s, died July 1 in Edmond, Okla. He was 78.
Engel hit .311 with four home runs in 501 at-bats for Statesboro
(Georgia State) in 1954, then moved on to Waycross (Georgia-Florida)
for the 1955 season, batting .263 with one home run and 13 stolen bases
in 133 games.
Bill Lillard, a shorstop who spent parts of two seasons with the
Philadelphia Athletics, died June 9 in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He was
Lillard made his big league debut with the A’s in September 1939,
appearing in seven games and going 7-for-19 at the plate. He spent the
bulk of the 1940 season with the A’s as well, getting into 73 games and
hitting .238 with one home run in 206 at-bats. However, he was sent
back to the minors for the 1941 sesaon, and would later miss three
seasons to serve in the military. Lillard returned to pro ball in 1946
and played another three seasons in the minors, but never got back to
the majors, retiring after he hit .182 for San Diego (Pacific Coast) in
Jack Littrell, a shortstop who played parts of four seasons in the
majors as part of a 15-year pro career, died June 9 in Louisville. He
After four seasons in the minors, Littrell got his first taste of the
big leagues with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952, when he appeared
in four games and went 0-for-2 at the plate. Littrell didn’t return to
the big leagues until 1954, when he made another nine appearances for
the A’s in their last season in Philadelphia, going 9-for-30 with one
home run. He remained with the relocated Kansas City A’s in 1955,
getting into 37 games and batting .200, but was sent back to the minors
again after that season.
Littrell enjoyed his most productive season as a pro in 1956, batting
.307 and hitting 22 home runs for Portland (Pacific Coast), earning him
a trip back to the majors with the Cubs in 1957. Littrell saw his most
meaningful big league action that year, making 61 appearances and
hitting .190 with one home run and 13 RBIs. However, the Cubs sent him
back to Portland after the season, and he would play another five
seasons in the minors without making it back to the majors again.
Carl “Nookie” Lombardi, a shortstop who played professionally for three seasons, died July 1 in Glen Ridge, N.J. He was 82.
Lombardi hit .259 with Amsterdam (Canadian-American) in 1947, chipping in three home runs and 45 RBIs as well. He later hit eight home runs for Joplin (Western Association) in 1950, but batted .236 and retired after that season.
Dan Morejon, an outfielder who appeared in 12 games for the 1958 Cincinnati Redlegs, died April 27 in Miami. He was 78.
Although Morejon’s stint in the major leagues was brief, he enjoyed a long playing career, spent mostly in the International and Mexican Leagues. Morejon’s career began in 1954 with Greater Miami (Florida International), where he hit .300 in 130 at-bats. A native of Havana, Cuba, Morejon spent parts of six seasons playing for his hometown Havana Sugar Kings of the International League. Morejon’s best season with the Sugar Kings came in 1957, when he hit .296 with 12 home runs in 141 games.
Morejon opened the 1958 campaign back in Havana, but was promoted to Cincinnati in July and made 12 appearances over the next month, going 5-for-26 with one RBI at the plate. Sent back to Havana in August, Morejon spent the next five seasons in the IL. He moved on to the Mexican League in 1964 and spent the next nine years there. Morejon hit at least .316 in each of his first four seasons in Mexico, incluing his 1967 season in which he batted .351 in 515 at-bats for Reynosa. Morejon finished his playing career in 1972, when he made 22 appearances for Cordoba and hit .254 in limited action. For his entire minor league career, Morejon compiled over 1,100 hits and 180 home runs.
Carey Philpott, a catcher who played professionally for three seasons, died June 17 in Lanett, Ala. He was 80.
Philpott made 18 appearances for Opelika (Georgia-Alabama) in 1948, but spent the next year out of organized baseball. He returned in 1950 and hit .150 with one home run in 252 at-bats with Lanett (Georgia-Alabama). His career was interrputed again, however, as he left baseball again to spend the next two years serving in the military. He returned to baseball for one more go around, batting .277 with three home runs and 68 RBIs for Graceville (Alabama-Florida) in 1953.
James “Dusty” Rhodes, an outfielder who played seven seasons with the Giants in the 1950s, died June 17 in Las Vegas. He was 82.
Rhodes served in the Navy prior to his baseball career, which he
started in 1947 and reached the majors five years later. Rhodes spent
his entire big league career with the Giants, primarily during the
team’s last few years in New York. Rhodes gained notoriety for his
exploits as a pinch hitter. Of the 576 big league games he appeared in,
he started less than half of them in the field.
Rhodes hit 21 home runs over his first two seasons in the majors in
1952 and ’53, but was fairly quiet overall, batting only .250 and .233,
respectively, in those two seasons. Rhodes had his career year in 1954,
batting .341 in 164 at-bats with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs. Most
famously, Rhodes hit a walk-off home run off Bob Lemon in the 10th
inning of Game 1 of the 1954 World Series against the Indians, the
first extra-inning walk-off homer in World Series history. Rhodes
homered again in Game 2 of the Series and went 4-for-6 overall as the
Giants swept Cleveland for the team’s last championship.
Rhodes hit .305 for the Giants in 1955, but his numbers slipped the
next two seasons, and he hit just .205 in 190 at-bats in 1957. He made
the last out of the Giants’ final game at the Polo Grounds, grounding
out to end a 9-1 loss to the Pirates in the team’s last game before
moving to San Francisco. While the Giants moved West, Rhodes was sent
back to the minor leagues after the ’57 season, and spent most of the
remainder of his career in the Pacific Coast League. He returned to the
Giants in 1959 and made 54 appearances, but hit only .188 in 48
at-bats. He played three more seasons for Tacoma (Pacific Coast) before
retiring after the 1962 season. Rhodes retired as a .253 lifetime
hitter in the big leagues, with 54 career home runs and 207 RBIs.
Joe Turk, an outfielder who played professionally for seven seasons, died June 23 in New Orleans. He was 86.
Turk opened his pro career in 1947, but played sparingly in stints with three teams. He landed in Kinston (Coastal Plain) for the 1948 season and hit .301 with eight home runs in 548 at-bats. Turk would move on to Lafayette (Evangeline) in 1949, where he would settle for the next three seasons. The best of Turks years in Lafayette came in 1950, when he batted .317 and hit 16 home runs and drove in 96 runs, all career highs. After a one year detour to Abbeville (Evangeline) in 1952, Turk returned to Lafayette for another season in 1953. He made 87 appearances and hit .317 again in what was his final season as a pro.
Bob Upton, a righthander who pitched eight seasons in the minor leagues, died June 20 in Lynn, Mass. He was 81.
Upton won 20 games in a season twice during his minor league career, the first coming when he accomplished the feat for Clarksdale (Cotton States) in 1948, when he went 21-5, 2.51 in 247 innings. Two years later, Upton posted 25 wins for Jacksonville (Gulf Coast) in 1950, going 25-16, 2.68 while working a league-high 326 innings. He also led the league in strikeouts that year with 346. Upton won a league ERA title the following year with a mark of 2.55 while going 15-11 for Gainesville (Big State), but he would miss the 1952 and ’53 seasons to serve in the military. Upton returned to baseball for to pitch two more seasons before retiring after going 16-8, 4.84 for Plainview (West Texas-New Mexico) in 1955.
Hal Woodeschick, a lefthander who pitched 11 seasons in the majors and was an all-star in 1963, died June 14 in Houston. He was 76.
Woodeschick began his pro career in 1950, but would miss two seasons to serve in the military before reaching the majors for the first time in 1956 with the Tigers. He only made two appearances for Detroit before going back to the minors and didn’t get back to the majors again until 1958, by which point he’d been traded to the Indians. Woodeschick made 14 appearances, including nine starts, for Cleveland and went 6-6, 3.63 in 72 innings, but spent most of the season in San Diego (Pacific Coast).
Woodeschick was traded to the Washington Senators in May 1959 and worked primarily out of the bullpen, making 31 appearances, all but three of which were in relief, and going 2-4, 3.69 in 61 innings. Woodeschick would change teams, but not cities, after the 1960 season, when the original Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins, but the new expansion Senators picked him in the 1960 expansion draft. His stay with the new Senators was brief, however, as he was traded back to the Tigers in June 1961. The Tigers then turned around and sold him to the Houston Colt .45’s after the season.
Woodeschick would spend the next three seasons in Houston and enjoyed his greatest big league success there. Woodeschick worked as a starter in his first season in Houston and went only 5-16, 4.40 before converting back to the bullpen in 1963. He was the Colt .45’s best reliever in ’63, going 11-9, 1.97 in 55 appearances and earning his only all-star appearance. The following year, Woodeschick led the NL with 23 saves for a team that finished ninth in the standings.
In June 1965, the newly re-named Astros traded Woodeschick to the Cardinals, with whom he spent the remainder of his career. Woodeschick posted a career-best 1.93 ERA for the Cardinals in 1966, but was saw that number rise to 5.14 during St. Louis’ championship season of 1967. He made only one appearance during the ’67 World Series, in which the Cardinals defeated the Red Sox in seven games, and retired after that season. He departed with a 44-62 career record, 3.56 ERA and 61 saves.
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