Obituaries: Feb. 17

Ray Antonali, a third baseman who played in the minors for two seasons, died Jan. 17 in Alameda, Calif. He was 86.

Antonali first got on the field with Salt Lake City (Pioneer) in 1941, batting .309 in 55 at-bats, then left the game to join the armed forces. He returned for one more season in 1946, appearing in 120 games for Pocatello (Pioneer) and hitting .272 with two home runs and 74 RBIs.


Bill Barnacle, an outfielder who played for 13 seasons in the minor leagues, died Dec. 25, 2009, in Deer River, Minn. He was 91.

Barnacle opened his pro career as an 18-year-old in 1937, batting .276 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs for Crookston (Northern). He returned to Crookston for the 1938 season and had his first big year, hitting .308 with six home runs and 14 steals. He continued his hot hitting the next year with Winnipeg (Northern) by hitting .333 with nine homers and 56 RBIs. After moving on to Madison (Three-I) for the 1940 season, Barnacle hit a career-best .346 in 419 at-bats.

Barnacle would spend most of the rest of his career playing in the American Association, beginning in 1941 when he moved up to Minneapolis and hit .302 with four home runs in 331 at-bats. After mashing a career-high 12 home runs for Minneapolis in 1942, Barnacle joined the military and missed the next three seasons. He returned to baseball in 1946, but was never quite as productive as he’d been in his younger years. He played two seasons in the International League, mostly with Jersey City, in 1947 and ’48, and matched his career-high 12 home run season in each of them, but hit just .269 and .244 in those years. He hit .277 for Toledo (American Association) in 1951, his last full season, and made a brief return to Minneapolis during the 1952 season, but he appeared in just 10 games and hit .118 to close out his career.

Richard Barnes, a righthander who pitched for one season in the minors, died Nov. 1, 2009, in San Diego. He was 81.

Barnes made 20 appearances for San Jose (California) in 1950, going 8-6, 4.03 over 116 innings.

Fabian Bayag, an outfielder who played in one professional season, died Oct. 3, 2009, in Miami. He was 74.

Bayag appeared in 19 games for Wytheville (Appalachian) in 1954, batting .271 with four RBIs and three steals over 70 at-bats.

Jeff Bell, a second baseman who spent three seasons in pro ball, died Feb. 5, 2009, in Birmingham. He was 84.

Bell hit .267 for Albany (Georgia-Florida) to open his career in 1946, adding two home runs, 74 RBIs and 22 steals as well. He opened the 1947 season with Decatur (Three-I) and hit .256 over 70 games before returning to Albany, where he finished out the year hitting .180 in 32 games. Bell spent his final season with Waycross (Georgia-Florida), where he hit .267 with six homers and 86 RBIs.


William Blaylock, a righthander who pitched professionally for one season, died Oct. 21, 2009, in Fort Smith, Ark. He was 78.

Blaylock went 3-3, 5.30 for Bartlesville (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) in 1950, his lone pro season. He entered the military after that year and did not return to baseball.

Bernard Breitbach, a pitcher who played in two minor league seasons, died Jan. 26 in Waterloo, Iowa. He was 88.

Breitbach’s minor league stints were a few years apart, the first coming with Tallahassee (Georgia-Florida) in 1942 and then, after a four years out of the game, the second with Oil City (Middle Atlantic) in 1947. He made three appearances at Oil City and went 0-2 in 14 innings.


Tom Brookshier, a righthander who pitched in one minor league season, died Jan. 31 in Wynnewood, Pa. He was 78.

Brookshier was best known for his pro football playing and broadcasting careers, but he did spent one summer pitching for Roswell (Longhorn) in 1954, posting a 7-1, 4.55 record in 65 innings. He left the game to join the Air Force after that season and concentrated solely on football after he returned. Brookshier went on to become a two-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles and was a starter on their 1960 NFL championship team. After his playing days, Brookshier worked for CBS as a commentator for NFL broadcasts until 1987.


Garnet Brown, a catcher who appeared in one professional game, died Jan. 7 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was 79.

Brown’s lone pro appearance came with Cambridge (Eastern Shore) in 1949. He had two at-bats and did not record a hit.


Roger Brown, a shortstop who played two seasons in the minor leagues, died Dec. 21, 2009, in Bloomington, Minn. He was 82.

Most of Brown’s first season in 1947 was spent with Ozark (Alabama State), where he hit .275 in 367 at-bats. That was the only meaningful playing time of his career, as he didn’t get on the field again until 1950, and that was just for 10 games with Valdosta (Georgia-Florida), batting .148 in 27 at-bats.


George Byam, a first baseman who played professionally for eight seasons, died Jan. 13 in Exeter, N.H. He was 90.

Byam made his pro debut in 1942, but had to put baseball on hold after that season to join the military, not returning until 1946 when he joined New Orleans (Southern Association). Byam hit .294 with four home runs and 94 RBIs in his first season back in the game. He then split the 1947 campaign between New Orleans and Nashville (Southern Association) and hit a robust .333 with 12 homers over 531 at-bats. He returned to Nashville in 1948 and put up a .300 average, then spent the last four years of his career playing in the International League. He hit .286 and set career bests with 19 home runs and 106 RBIs for Buffalo in 1949, then hit another 10 long balls and drove in 97 runs for Baltimore in 1950. His average dipped to .268 with Montreal in 1951, but he still belted 10 homers and drove in 71 runs. However, that would be his last meaningful action. He returned to Baltimore in 1952, but made just 51 appearances and hit .265 in 132 at-bats.


Harvey Chase, a lefthander who pitched in one pro season, died Dec. 15, 2009, in Oxford, Pa. He was 82.

Chase made 11 appearances for Harlan (Mountain State) in 1949, going 3-2, 5.56 with two complete games.


Francisco “Pancho” Garcia, an outfielder who had a 14-year career in the Mexican League, died Jan. 12 in Obregon, Mexico. He was 71.

The father of former big league outfielder Karim Garcia, Francisco opened his pro career in 1960 and had his first big season in 1963, when he hit .288 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs for Mexico City. He played two more seasons for Mexico City, including hitting .284 with 11 long balls in 1964, then moved on to Guadalajara for the 1966 season. He led the Mexican League with 55 steals for Guadalajara in 1966, when he also hit 15 home runs and batted .244. He improved his average over each of the next three seasons in Guadalajara, hitting .285 in his final season there in 1969, then headed to Union Laguna in 1970. He had the best year of his career in his first season there, leading the league in hits (185), doubles (44) and runs (120) while batting .346. However, his numbers fell off over the next four seasons, and he retired after hitting just .206 for Chihuahua in 1974.

Harry Johnston, a lefthander who pitched in four professional seasons, died Oct. 28, 2009, in Paradise Valley, Ariz. He was 87.

Johnston spent the bulk of his first pro season in 1942 with Boise (Pioneer), going 8-10, 5.10 in 157 innings. He wouldn’t get to continue his career until 1946, however, as he entered the military and missed the next three seasons. Johnston returned to the mound with Idaho Falls (Pioneer) in ’46 and went 14-13, 3.87 with 21 complete games, his best year as a pro. After going 11-11, 4.48 for Bremerton (Western International) in 1947, Johnston sat out two more years before returning once more in 1950 for one more go around, but he would go only 0-6, 8.00 in 10 appearances for Boise to close out his career.


Archie Kelley, a righthander who had a brief pro pitching career after World War II, died Jan. 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 88.

Kelley served in the military during the war and entered pro baseball for a short period after getting out of the service. He made two appearances for Chanute (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) in May 1946 and did not record any decisions.

Hillis Layne, a third baseman who played three seasons for the Washington Senators, died Jan. 12 in Signal Mountain, Tenn. He was 91.

Layne hit .315 with 70 RBIs in his pro debut with Americus (Georgia-Florida) in 1938. He kept right on hitting over the next three years as he worked his way towards the big leagues. He batted .338 with 12 home runs for Chattanooga (Southern Association) in 1941 and earned his first big league callup that September, appearing in 13 games for the Senators and batting .280 with six RBIs in 50 at-bats. Layne put his baseball career on hold after the ’41 season however, entering the military and losing the next two seasons to serve in World War II.

Layne returned to the game in 1944, rejoining the Senators and hitting .195 in 33 games. He rediscovered his stroke in 1945, upping his average to .299 with 14 RBIs in 147 at-bats for Washington, but that would be his last big league action. Layne was sent back to Chattanooga for the 1946 season, where he hit .369 in 556 at-bats, then headed west to join the Pacific Coast League’s Seattle Rainiers for the 1947 season. Layne made an immediate impact in Seattle, winning a PCL batting title in ’47 with a .367 average along with driving in 64 runs in 499 at-bats. He hit .342 for Seattle in 1948, but his numbers declined over the next two seasons. After he hit just .216 for Seattle in 1950, Layne began working as a player/manager in the lower minors, spending time with four different clubs over the next eight seasons. He won a batting title with a .391 average in the Northwest League while working as Lewiston’s player/manager in 1955, and he would remain with Lewiston until 1958, batting .362 in his final season.


Hal Manders, a righthander who pitched in the major leagues for parts of three seasons, died Jan. 21 in Waukee, Iowa. He was 92.

A cousin of Hall of Famer Bob Feller, Manders broke into pro ball with Alexandria (Evangeline) in 1937. He went 10-5, 3.23 in his first season, striking out 122 hitters in 131 innings. He had another fine year in his second season, going 14-11, 2.83 with 18 complete games with Evansville (Three-I), then he moved up to Beaumont (Texas) for the next two seasons. Manders’ first year in Beaumont was a struggle, as he lost a league-high 20 decisions en route to posting a 13-20, 4.05 record, but he rebounded in 1940, going 11-13, 3.53.

Manders opened the 1941 season at Knoxville (Southern Association) and spent most of the year there, but he earned his first big league callup that August when the Tigers summoned him to the majors and he made eight appearances, all in relief, for Detroit down the stretch. He went 1-0, 2.40 in 15 innings in his big league debut and would remain a part of the Tigers’ bullpen during the 1942 season, making 18 appearances and going 2-0, 4.09. Manders put baseball on hold for the next three years, then returned to the game for one more season in 1946. He made two appearances for the Tigers, but spent most of that season with Buffalo (International), where he won 10 games and had a 3.90 ERA. Manders ended the season, and his career, by making two appearances, including one start, for the Cubs late in the year, thtough he lost his only decision there.

John Mizerock, an infielder who got into 31 pro games during the 1954 season, died April 23, 2009, in Punxsutawney, Pa. He was 73.

Mizerock split his time between second base, third base and shortstop during his lone pro season, during which he hit .241 with 11 RBIs in 79 at-bats for Valdosta (Georgia-Florida).

Joe Montalvo, a catcher who played 15 seasons in the minors, died Oct. 20, 2009, in Kissimmee, Fla. He was 83.

Montalvo opened his pro career in 1944 with Kingsport (Appalachian) in 1944, but missed the 1945 season to serve in the armed forces. He returned in 1946 and hit .288 with two home runs for Valley (Georgia-Alabama). Montalvo continued earning his way up the minor league ranks over the next few seasons, though he didn’t put up huge offensive numbers. He worked his way to Seattle (Pacific Coast) for the 1951 season and put up a productive season in his first taste of Triple-A baseball, hitting .287 with five home runs and 49 RBIs in 230 at-bats. Montalvo would continue playing at the Triple-A level for most of the rest of his career, but he never made the big leagues. His best year of Triple-A ball came in 1954, which he split between Charleston (American Association), Ottawa (International) and Havana (International), hitting a combined .258 with two home runs. Montalvo returned to Havana for the 1955 season, but hit just .202 in 163 at-bats. He spent most of the next three seasons playing for Charlotte (South Atlantic), where he hit a career-high 14 home runs during the 1957 season, and ended his career playing for Nuevo Laredo of the Mexican League in 1959, batting .310 with four home runs in 113 at-bats.

Curt Motton, an outfielder who played in eight major league seasons, died Jan. 21 in Parkton, Md. He was 69.

Motton broke into the majors with the Orioles in 1967 after four seasons in the minors and was a useful contributor off the bench during Baltimore’s run as one of the American League’s dominant teams in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Motton hit just .198 in his first full season in the majors, but he did contribute eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 83 games. Motton continued in his part-time role for the Orioles clubs that won three consecutive AL pennants from 1969-71 and the 1970 World Series. He hit .303 in 89 at-bats for the 1969 club and his most memorable contribution was his walk-off single in the 11th inning of game 2 of the ’69 AL Championship Series against the Twins. Although Motton never received much playing time with the Orioles, given that he was behind Frank Robinson, Don Buford and Paul Blair on their outfield depth chart, he remained a positive force in the clubhouse and was well known for his vibrant personality.

After hitting .189 in 53 at-bats for Baltimore in 1971, Motton was traded to the Brewers in the offseason. He was later dealt to the California Angels in May 1972 and finished the ’72 season hitting .156 in 45 at-bats between his two stops. Motton opened the 1973 season in the minors before being released that July and going back to the Orioles as a free agent. The Orioles mostly kept him in the minors as well, and he hit .300 for Triple-A Rochester in 1974, but he did receive a late-season callup in ’74 and was able to close his final season in an Oriole uniform. Motton stayed around the game as a scout and minor league coach after his playing days. He also got to serve as the Orioles bench coach for the 1991 season.

John Noske, a shortstop who played one season in pro ball, died Jan. 2 in Edmund, Okla. He was 81.

Noske got into 22 games for Hagerstown (Inter-State) during the 1952 season, batting .179 with three doubles and six RBIs over 78 at-bats.

Joe Petrick, a lefthander who pitched professionally for eight seasons, died Dec. 28, 2009, in Willoughby, Ohio. He was 95.

Petrick opened his pro career in 1936, then had a breakout season in his second year, going 11-3, 2.72 in 109 innings for Welch (Mountain State) in 1937. However, he struggled over the next two seasons, which he split between four different teams, then sat out the 1940 season altogether. He got back on track in 1942, pitching for Anniston and Montgomery of the Southeastern League and going a combined 8-8, 3.99 over a career-high 142 innings. After going on another hiatus from the game in 1943, Petrick came back again in 1944 and went a combined 6-5, 2.97 in 19 appearances combined between Birmingham (Southern Association) and Portsmouth (Piedmont). He returned to Birmingham for one more season in 1945, putting up a 3-8, 5.96 record in his final campaign.

Thomas Petrore, who played in one professional game in 1950, died Jan. 18 in Johnstown, Pa. He was 79.

Petrore’s lone pro action came with Berwick (North Atlantic) during the 1950 season. He got into one game and went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Clayton Plant, a righthander who pitched one season in the minor leagues, died Nov. 28, 2009, in Port Orange, Fla. He was 82.

Plant made nine appearances for Lebanon (North Atlantic) in 1949, putting up a 1-0 record with a 7.94 ERA over 17 innings.


George Porter, a pitcher who saw action in two professional seasons, died Jan. 23 in Aurora, N.C. He was 90.

Porter was originally signed by New Bern (Coastal Plain) in 1940, but never got to pitch in any games. He didn’t get back into the game again until he had two separate stints with Kinston (Coastal Plain) in 1947 and ’49. He pitched a handful of innings each time, ending his career after posting a 1-2 record in five appearances in 1949.


Danny Radakovich, a catcher who played professionally for 10 seasons, died Aug. 6, 2009, in Chicago. He was 91.

Radakovich originally signed with the Yankees and opened his career in their system with Neosho (Arkansas-Missouri) in 1938. He hit .316 with 72 RBIs in his pro debut, then split his second season primarily between Easton (Eastern Shore) and Butler (Pennsylvania State Association), while also spending a brief time with Joplin (Western Association). He hit a combined .298 with 48 RBIs that year, then spent the next two seasons with Utica (Canadian-American). Radakovich hit .286 for Utica in 1940 and .315 in ’41, but then missed the next two seasons to serve in the military.

Radakovich returned to Utica, now a member of the Eastern League, when he resumed his baseball career in 1944 and hit .237 in 46 games. Now a member of the Tigers organization, Radakovich hit .204 in 31 games for Buffalo (International) before heading to Chattanooga (Southern Association), where he finished out the year batting .285. Radakovich returned to Chattanooga, a Senators affiliate, for the 1946 season, but hit just .225. He would play another three seasons and had a productive year for Greensboro (Carolina) in 1948, batting .267 in 445 at-bats, but called it a career after he hit .217 combined between stops with Greensboro and Burlington (Carolina) in 1949.


Billy Reynolds, an outfielder who played in the minors for eight seasons, died Dec. 25, 2009, in Metairie, La. He was 79.

Reynolds started his career as a first baseman for New Iberia (Evangeline) in 1954, when he hit .340 with 21 homers and 124 RBIs, then moved to the outfield beginning in his second year. Reynolds’ first season proved to be his career year, although he was productive for Greenville (Tri-State) in 1955, batting .333 with four homers and 55 RBIs in 357 at-bats. He reached Atlanta (Southern Association) in 1956, but that would be the closest he would get to the major leagues. After parts of three seasons in Atlanta, Reynolds moved on to New Orleans (Southern Association) for the 1959 season and had his best season in years, posting a .302 average to go with nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 189 at-bats. He spent the final two years of his career with Little Rock (Southern Association) and hit 19 home runs there in 1960 while batting .281. His average fell to .210 in 1961, although he still managed to club 10 home runs in 80 games in his last season in pro ball.

Gary Rollins, a third baseman who played in one pro season, died March 27, 2009, in Pompano Beach, Fla. He was 63.

Rollins was 19 years old when he played his only pro season in 1965, spending time with three different teams. He started out with Marion (Appalachian), but made just six appearances there before moving on to Auburn (New York-Pennsylvania), where he hit .219 in 32 at-bats, and then finishing with Greenville (Western Carolinas), where he only got into 10 games and hit .103.

Joe Tedesco, a third baseman who played 14 seasons in the minor leagues, died April 18, 2009, in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. He was 83.

Although Tedesco never made the big leagues, he was a productive hitter throughout his minor league career. His first big year came in 1948, his third year as a pro, when he hit .356 with 15 home runs, 125 RBIs and 31 steals for Vandergrift (Middle Atlantic). His numbers fell off over the next two years, but he came on strong again in 1951 with Raleigh (Carolina), batting .299 and hitting another 15 homers and driving in 115 runs. Tedesco set a new career best with 19 long balls for Calgary (Western International) in 1953, then hit 11 home runs in just 40 games for Calgary in 1954 before moving on to Winston-Salem (Carolina), although his numbers dipped over the rest of the year. Tedesco’s best showing of power came near the end of his career, when he hit 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons in 1957 and ’58 while serving as a player/manager for Sioux City (Western). He spent the 1959 season out of baseball, but returned for one more campaign in 1960, hitting .297 with 11 home runs as a player/manager for Missoula (Pioneer).

Ken Walters, an outfielder who played three seasons in the majors in the 1960s, died Jan. 26 in San Ramon, Calif. He was 76.

Walters opened his career in 1952, spending his first two seasons with Jamestown (PONY) before leaving to join the military and missing the 1954 and ’55 seasons. He returned to baseball in 1956 and didn’t need any time to find his power stroke, belting 20 home runs in his first year back while splitting the season between Augusta (South Atlantic) and Charleston (American Association). He hit another 17 home runs with Birmingham (Southern Association) in 1957 while batting .275. Walters had his best year yet in 1959 with Fort Worth (American Association), hitting 21 homers with 92 RBIs and a .291 average.

Walters’ 1959 season earned him a spot on the Phillies’ opening day roster in 1960, and he would be a regular part of the club’s outfield that season, batting .239 with eight home runs over 426 at-bats. His playing time decreased in 1961, but Walters still got into 86 games for the Phillies and hit .228. The Phillies sold Walters to the Reds after the ’61 season, but he would spent most of the rest of his career playing at Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate in San Diego (Pacific Coast). He made the most of his time in San Diego, though, batting an even .300 there in 1962 and leading the PCL in doubles with 43 while hitting 22 home runs and driving in 96 runs. That season earned him another big league shot and he got into 49 games for Cincinnati in 1963, but he batted just .187 and would spend the last two years of his career back in San Diego. He retired after batting .227 there in 1965.

Bobby Wilkins, a shortstop who played two major league seasons with the wartime Philadelphia Athletics, died Jan. 3 in Shreveport, La. He was 87.

Wilkins was called up to the A’s as a 21-year-old in only his second pro season in 1944. He went on to make 24 appearances for the A’s and batted .240 in 25 at-bats. He stayed on with the A’s for another season, serving in a utility role and hitting .260 in 154 at-bats. With World War II having come to an end, the A’s sent Wilkins back to the minors in 1946, and he would never get another shot at the big leagues, though he continued playing until 1954. He had his best season as a pro in 1948 with Charleston (South Atlantic), batting .293 with one homer, 57 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. He then spent the next four seasons with Shreveport (Texas) and finished his career after two years with Augusta (South Atlantic) in 1953 and ’54.


Eric Zepke, a righthander who made 10 professional appearances in 1952, died Jan. 5 in Wilbraham, Mass. He was 76.

Zepke made two appearances for Kingsport (Appalachian), then spent the rest of the ’52 season with Big Stone Gap (Mountain States), getting into eight games and going 2-3, 8.69 in 29 innings.

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.

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