Obituaries: Dec. 7

Maury Allen, a longtime sportswriter for The New York Post, died Oct. 3 in Cedar Grove, N.J. He was 78.

After starting his sportswriting career with two years at Sports Illustrated, Allen covered baseball for the Post from 1961 through 1988 and then for The White Plains (N.Y.) Journal News through 2000. Allen was a Hall of Fame voter for 35 years and authored a total of 38 books about baseball and other sports during his career. He also made numerous appearances as an interview subject on television documentaries.

Clarence Anderson, a lefthander who pitched professionally for four seasons, died Aug. 19 in Virginia Beach. He was 87.

Anderson pitched in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization from 1947-50. He went 15-6, 2.84 for Zanesville (Ohio State) in his pro debut in 1947, but didn’t find the same success in subsequent years.

Joseph Barry, a catcher who played in one professional season, died July 11 in Moorpark, Calif. He was 82.

Barry’s only pro experience came with Rehoboth (Eastern Shore) in 1948, when he appeared in five games and had one hit in nine at-bats.

George Beck, a righthander who pitched professionally for three seasons, died Aug. 14 in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 89.

Most of Beck’s pro action came with Topeka and Salinas of the Western Association in 1940, when he went a combined 1-8, 6.91 in 56 innings. He only pitched in five games over the next two years.

Jack Bennett, a righthander who pitched for five years in the minors, died Aug. 19 in Westminster, Md. He was 80.

Bennett had two seasons in which he posted double-digit win totals, highlighted by his 10-3, 3.91 season for Smithfield-Selma (Tar Heel) in 1949. He later went 12-15, 5.06 for Big Stone Gap (Mountain States) in 1951, but he entered the military after that season and never got back on the field.

Ralph Bernadini, a catcher who played in the minor leagues for five seasons, died Aug. 25 in Waterbury, Conn. He was 81.

Bernadini opened his pro career in 1948, though he played sparingly for most of his career. His busiest season came in 1950, when he appeared in a total of 56 games between three clubs and hit a combined .239 in 159 at-bats.

Bill Black, a righthander who pitched in two pro seasons, died Aug. 17 in Williamsport, Pa. He was 92.

Black threw 107 innings for Jamestown (PONY) in 1939, going 4-10, 4.96, and spent brief stints with three clubs in 1940.

E.L. Carroll, a pitcher who saw action in one minor league season, died Sept. 13 in Amarillo, Texas. He was 93.

Carroll’s only season in the pros came in 1938, when he made one appearance with Texarkana (East Texas) and six with Williamson (Mountain State), where he had an 0-3 record.


George Catloth, a shortstop who played one year in the minor leagues, died July 19 in Lanham, Md. He was 91.

Catloth, a former Washington Senators batboy, appeared in three pro games for Ashland (Mountain State) in 1939, going 1-for-11.

Rod Colson, an outfielder who played three seasons in the minor leagues, died Aug. 20 in Tampa. He was 85.

Colson saw limited action over two seasons with Lanett (Georgia-Alabama) before hitting .277 in 184 at-bats with Cocoa (Florida State) in 1951. He played one more season, batting .269 for Jacksonville Beach (Florida State) in 1952.

David “Satch” Davidson, a longtime National League umpire, died Aug. 21 in Houston. He was 74.

Davidson had a brief stint as a professional player, appearing in two minor league games as a catcher in 1961, before beginning his career as an umpire in 1966. He reached the majors in 1969 and umpired in the NL until his retirement after the 1984 season. During his career, Davidson worked two World Series and one All-Star Game. Most notably, he was behind the plate for Hank Aaron’s 715th career home run and Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Willie Fordham, a lefthander who saw action in one minor league season, died Aug. 22. He was 83.

Fordham appeared in 14 games for Harrisburg (Inter-State) in 1952, going 3-3, 6.00 in 51 innings.

Marvin Graves, a righthander who appeared in one pro game, died Aug. 20 in Aberdeen, S.D. He was 85.

Graves’ only pro action came with Decatur (Three-I) during the 1942 season. He pitched a single inning in his lone appearance. He went on to enter the military and didn’t return to baseball.

Bobby Howerin, who played briefly in the pros in 1951, died Aug. 16 in Norfolk, Va. He was 77.

Howerin’s pro career spanned a handful of games with Hazard (Mountain States) and Hornell (PONY) all during the 1951 season. He had two hits in 23 at-bats for with Hornell.

Bob Hyatt, a third baseman who played in the minors for 10 seasons, died July 28 in Wildwood, Fla. He was 83.

Hyatt was a capable power hitter over the course of his career, most of which was spent in the low minors. He had his first big power season in 1948, when he went deep 18 times for Pauls Valley (Sooner State), and he hit 20 homers in two of the next three seasons. Hyatt reached the Triple-A level once, appearing in 29 games for Columbus (American Association) in 1953. He would take a couple seasons away from the game before ending his career with Orlando (Florida State) in 1957. He ended his career with 120 lifetime home runs.

James Johnson, a catcher who played five seasons in the minors, died June 13 in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 75.

Johnson opened his career in 1953 but it was interrupted for two years when he went into the military. He had his best offensive season in 1957, batting .262 with four homers with Fresno (California). His career came to a close with Eugene (Northwest) in 1959.

William “Dub” Jones, a lefthander who saw action in two minor league seasons, died Aug. 18 in Gainesville, Ga. He was 85.

Jones made a total of 29 pro appearances, all coming with Moultrie (Georgia-Florida) in 1949 and 1951. He wasn’t involved in any decisions in ’49 and went 2-11, 6.18 in ’51.

Ron Laumann, a lefthander who pitched in three pro seasons, died Aug. 18 in York, Pa. He was 76.

Laumann went a combined 22-18, 3.16 over three seasons spent in the New York Giants organization, highlighted by his 12-6, 2.14 showing for Muskogee (Sooner State) in 1955.

Bill Lobdell, a righthander who pitched in two minor league seasons, died Aug. 22 in Conroe, Texas. He was 55.

A seventh round pick by the Cardinals in the January 1974 draft, Lobdell went 1-3, 2.53 in his pro debut with Sarasota (Gulf Coast) that summer. He only pitched one more season, though, putting up a 1-2, 3.21 season with Johnson City (Appalachian) in 1975.

John “Lefty” Mathes, a lefthander who pitched professionally for two seasons, died July 20 in Grant, Neb. He was 82.

Mathes pitched briefly for Carthage (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) in 1946 and 1947 before finishing the ’47 season with Cairo (Kitty), where he pitched in nine games and went 2-1, 6.89 in 47 innings.

Leon McClinton, a lefthander who pitched in six minor league seasons, died Aug. 24 in Little Rock, Ark. He was 77.

McClinton originially signed with the Indians for the 1951 season but pitched just 44 innings over two years in their farm system. He joined the Cardinals organization in 1953 and saw his first meaningful action, going 8-3, 4.50 in 102 innings for Hazlehurst-Baxley (Geogria State). He missed the following year to serve in the military and didn’t get back for a full season until 1956. He wound up his career pitching two seasons with Winnipeg (Northern) in 1956 and ’57, going a combined 7-10, 4.59.

Cal McLish, a righthander who pitched in the majors for 15 seasons, died Aug. 26 in Edmond, Okla. He was 84.

McLish made his big league debut as an 18-year-old with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944, but he didn’t really come into his own as a big leaguer until much later. He missed time to serve in the Army and was sent back to the minors for a few seasons in the early 1950s. He got back to the majors full-time with the Indians in 1956 at the age of 30. He worked two seasons in Cleveland’s bullpen, then moved into their rotation in 1958. He won 16 games that year, then went 19-8, 3.64 in 1959 and made his only all-star appearance. He struggled to find the same success over the next three years, pitching with the Indians, White Sox and Phillies, before recovering to go 13-11, 2.86 for Philadelphia in 1963. However, arm problems forced him to retire early in the 1964 season. McLish went on to serve as a coach with the Phillies, Expos and Brewers. He was the pitching coach with Milwaukee’s 1982 American League pennant winner.

Gene Mitzel, an outfielder who played professionally for three seasons, died Sept. 8 in Red Bluff, Calif. He was 82.

Mitzel was an effective hitter during his brief time in pro ball. He hit .273 with 11 homers for Willows (Far West) in 1948 and was better the following year, batting .326 with 23 homers in a second season there in 1949. Mitzel hit .257 for Fresno (California) in 1950 before entering the military and bringing his baseball career to a close.

Jerry Navrocki, a first baseman who played in seven minor league seasons, died Aug. 20 in Pittsfield, Mass. He was 95.

Navrocki batted over .300 in six of his seven seasons as a pro, starting in 1937, though he saw time in several organizations. Navrocki never hit for much home run power, with his career high being four, but he twice led his league in triples. He had his finest year in 1942 with Pittsfield (Canadian-American), where he hit .341 in 508 at-bats while capturing the league RBI title with 104. But after hitting .282 for Binghamton (Eastern) in 1943, Navrocki’s career was interrupted as he went into the military for two years. He returned in 1946 but only played one more season.

Larry Novak, an outfielder who played in the minors for 11 seasons, died Aug. 16 in Michigan City, Ind. He was 78.

Novak played most of the first half of his career in the Phillies organization and reached the Triple-A level for the first time in 1954, his third year as a pro. He never broke through to the majors though, playing a total of seven seasons in Triple-A while moving between several organizations. He was a .248 lifetime hitter in Triple-A before his career came to an end in the Mexican League in 1962.

Ken Plesha, a catcher who was a first-round pick in 1965, died Sept. 7, 2009, in McCook, Ill. He was 63.

The White Sox made Plesha the 17th overall pick in 1965, the first ever major league draft. The Notre Dame product played just three seasons though, all at the Class A level, during which he had a cumulative .186 average.

Joe Potts, a catcher who played in four professional seasons, died Aug. 16 in Fullerton, Calif. He was 80.

Potts’ career spanned from 1950-55, with a two-year interruption when he joined the military in 1951. He hit over .300 in each of his first two seasons after returning to the field in 1953 before leaving the game after hitting a combined .276 between two minor league stops in 1955.


Veto Ramirez, a righthander who pitched in four minor league seasons, died July 29 in Stockton, Calif. He was 81.

Ramirez’s career was broken up by five years away from the game after he’d pitched two seasons for Stockton (California) in 1948 and ’49. Ramirez saw his most extensive action in his last season, going 15-12, 4.00 for Stockton in 1956.

Gordon “Moose” Roach, a righthander who pitched in four pro seasons, died Aug. 5 in Toronto. He was 81.

Roach’s most noteworthy accomplishment came Aug. 20, 1952, when he threw a seven-inning no-hitter for Eau Claire (Northern) while striking out eight and walking eight. He finished that season 14-4, 3.14 but that would be his last in pro ball.

Patrick “Poppy” Ruggiero, a shortstop who played in eight pro games, died Aug. 16 in Buffalo. He was 77.

Ruggiero went 2-for-18 while appearing in four games with Crowley (Evangeline) and four with Fitzgerald (Georgia-Florida) during the 1956 season.

Art Sabulsky, an outfielder who played in the minors for five seasons, died Aug. 22 in Pittsburgh. He was 84.

Sabulsky made his pro debut in 1948 but didn’t play a full season until 1951, when he hit .225 for Niagara Falls (Middle Atlantic). He had his best season two years later, batting .315 in 295 at-bats for Knoxville (Mountain States), but his career came to end a year later.

Stan Sadich, an outfielder who played professionally for four seasons, died Aug. 22 in Columbia, Mo. He was 85.

Sadich began his career as a third baseman with Globe-Miami (Arizona-Texas) in 1949 before converting to the outfield later that year during a stint with Mayfield (Kitty). He batted .301 with seven homers for Springfield (Mississippi-Ohio Valley) in 1950, but that was his best year, and he left pro ball after hitting .267 for Mount Vernon (Mississippi-Ohio Valley) in 1952.

Bill Salem, an outfielder who played in two pro seasons, died Aug. 15 in Brooklyn, Ohio. He was 91.

Salem hit .293 with four homers in 362 at-bats in his pro debut with Mansfield (Ohio State) in 1941. He only appeared in 13 games the next year before leaving baseball to enter the military.

Frank Slivocka, who appeared in a single professional game, died Aug. 15 in Jersey City, N.J. He was 86.

Slivocka’s only pro appearance came as a pinch-hitter with Hornell (PONY) on May 21, 1943. He later entered the military and never got back on the field. He did sign a pro contract with Oil City (Middle Atlantic) in 1946 but didn’t play in any games.

David Thieke, a righthander who spent six seasons in the minor leagues, died Aug. 18 in Murray, Ky. He was 86.

Thieke started his pro career as a two-way player in 1946 before moving to the mound full-time in 1948. He made the most of his first full year on the mound, winning a league ERA title after going 9-8, 1.81 with Danville (Three-I). He pitched three more seasons, the last two with Elmira (Eastern).

Don Wichmann, a first baseman who played two seasons in the minor leagues, died Aug. 13 in Sauk Rapids, Minn. He was 82.

Wichmann saw most of his playing time with Carthage (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) in 1947, hitting .206 in 107 at-bats.

Harold Wilson, a third baseman who played in the minors for two seasons, died Aug. 17 in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 87.

Wilson was an solid hitter in his brief career. He hit .297 for Pueblo (Western) in 1941 and followed that up by belting 13 homers and hitting .326 with Huntington (Mountain State) in 1942.

Robert Wirt, a righthander who pitched professionally for four seasons, died Feb. 9 in Brooksville, Fla. He was 83.

Wirt saw most of his action in 1945 and 1946, going 3-5, 4.26 for Middletown (Ohio State) in ’45 and 8-3, 3.56 for Green Bay (Wisconsin State) in ’46.

Anyone with an obituary to contribute may contact Bill Carle at 909 SW Corine Court, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081, or at bbxpert@aol.com.


Minor league obituaries may also be e-mailed to Ray Nemec at basebalray@aol.com.

Majors | #2010 #Obituaries

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