Monday, January 9, 2017



Just twenty-three years old, Fernandez's career was cut short in a boating accident on September 25th, 2016. Among the top pitching prospects in the majors, he won Rookie of the Year honors in 2013. The following year, he sustained a season-ending injury and underwent Tommy John surgery. He successfully rehabbed, becoming the Marlins staff ace in 2016 with a 16-8 record and 2.86 ERA. He was posthumously given the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. 


Arroyo was a left-handed pitcher who spent eight years in the majors with four different teams. He was among the earliest crop of Puerto Ricans to find success in the big leagues. Arroyo's best season came in 1961, when he won 15 games for the Yankees with 29 saves. He logged a career-low 2.19 ERA that year. In the '61 World Series, he made two appearances and was credited with a win against the Reds. He was a two-time All-Star. After his playing years, he managed for three seasons in Mexico. In 2010, he suffered a heart attack on a cruise sponsored by the Yankees. Elected to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012, he died on January 13, 2016, having been diagnosed with cancer a month earlier.


 Known more for the broadcasting career he forged after his retirement as a player, Garagiola grew up in the same neighborhood as Yogi Berra. The two were childhood friends. Garagiola played nine major league seasons primarily for the Cardinals, helping the club to a World Series victory in 1946. Garagiola hit .316 in that Series with 4 RBIs. He later called games for the Cardinals, Yankees, Angels and Diamondbacks. He was also a long time announcer on NBC's Game of the Week. Additionally, he authored several books and was a regular personality on the Today show. He was 90 years old when he passed away in March of 2016. 


Born and raised in Detroit, Pappas was known for his blazing fastball. He is one of only sixteen live-ball pitchers to win 150 games before the age of thirty. He averaged 14 wins per year for mostly mediocre Orioles squads between 1958 and 1965. Before the '66 slate, he was involved in an infamous trade that brought Hall of Famer Frank Robinson to Baltimore. Robinson led the Orioles to three World Series. Pappas had a handful of good seasons elsewhere, making stops in Atlanta and Chicago after leaving Cincinnati. He won 17 games for the Cubs in two straight seasons. In '72, he pitched a no-hitter over the Padres. He lost a perfect game that day when umpire Bruce Froemming issued a ninth inning walk on a close pitch. Pappas was 76 years old when he died in April of 2016. 


Irvin began his career when major league baseball's color barrier was in place. He spent nine seasons with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League, establishing himself as a major star. In 1949, he was signed by the Giants and made his debut at the age of thirty. Irvin helped guide the Giants to a pair of pennants, earning a World Series ring in 1954. He averaged 19 homers and 80 RBIs per year during major league seasons in which he made at least 100 appearances. He was enshrined at Cooperstown in 1973. He died of natural causes on January 11, 2016. He was 96 years old.  


For five seasons, Hart was among the most consistent run producers in the majors. He averaged 28 homers and 89 RBIs per year from 1964-1968--a period sometimes referred to as baseball's second deadball era. Hart was a runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 1964. Primarily a third baseman, injuries slowed him down during the 1970s. After falling from the major league ranks in '74, he continued in the Mexican League for two more seasons. Quiet and modest, he died in May 2016 after a long illness.


Hickman spent thirteen years in the majors, breaking in with the woeful Mets of the early-'60s. A versatile utility man, he appeared at every outfield station and both corner infield positions. He even pitched two innings in 1967. His finest offensive showing came in 1970 as a member of the Cubs. He hit .315 that year with 32 homers and 115 RBIs. His twelfth inning single drove in the winning run for the National League in the 1970 All-Star game. The play involved an infamous collision at the plate between Pete Rose and catcher Ray Fosse. Hickman died in June 2016 after a long illness.


Phillips had a solid major league career that lasted eighteen seasons and included long stints in Detroit and Oakland. As a member of the late-'80s powerhouse A's, he filled many defensive positions and blossomed into a fine leadoff hitter. With impeccable plate discipline, he led the league in walks twice, averaging 114 free passes per year between 1993 and 1997. Injuries and off-field problems eventually derailed his career. Remembered by teammates for his contagious sense of humor, he died of a heart attack in February 2016.


A sure-handed third baseman and versatile defensive player, Davenport spent his entire thirteen-year playing career in San Francisco. He enjoyed one of his best offensive efforts in 1962, when he compiled a career-best .297 batting average and made his only All-Star appearance. He also won a Gold Glove that year. Highly durable, Davenport appeared in no fewer than 106 games every season from 1958-1969. In all, he spent forty years as a player, coach, manager and front office executive He died of a heart attack in February 2016 at the age eighty-two.


McAuliffe logged close to 1,000 games at second base and nearly 700 as a shortstop. He was a vital cog in the Tigers' postseason appearances of 1968 and 1972. An All-Star for three straight years, McAuliffe earned MVP consideration in 1968, when he led the league in runs scored. Typically appearing in the leadoff spot, he drove in no fewer than 56 runs on seven occasions. He had a dramatic uppercut swing and an open stance. Known as "Mad Dog" to teammates, he retired among the Tigers' top ten in multiple offensive categories. He succumbed to complications of Alzheimer's Disease in May 2016.

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