January 1: Ernie Koy, age 97. At the time of his death, Koy was the oldest living former Cardinal player, an honor now held by Don Gutteridge. Koy joined the Cardinals from the Dodgers in the Ducky Medwick trade in 1940 and batted .310, hit 19 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and drove in 52 runs in just 348 at-bats that season before being sold to the Cincinnati Reds in 1941. link to related article
January 30: Max Lanier, age 91. Lanier pitched 12 seasons with the Cardinals, from 1938 through 1951, including the 1942 and 1944 World Series champions, bridging from the Gas House Gang era into the dark 1950s. Lanier posted an exceptional ERA of 2.84 as a Cardinal. His 1943 mark of 1.90 led the National League and is the fifth-best season in franchise history. He later managed in the minor leagues. link to related article
February 6: Lew Burdette, age 80. The former Milwaukee World Series pitching star became a Cardinal late in his career, as the right-hander joined the club at age 36 during the 1963 season. He was traded away in mid-season 1964, before the club advanced to the World Series.
March 3: Gene Oliver, age 71. The catcher/first baseman/outfielder, a Quad Cities native, came up with the Cards in 1959 and was their regular catcher in 1962. He was traded to the Braves for Lew Burdette in 1963.
March 8: Marty Martinez, age 65. The seven-year major league veteran and native of Cuba appeared in nine games as an infield reserve early in the 1972 season for the Cardinals.
March 10: Art Lopatka, age 87. Pitched in four games, including one start for the 1945 Cardinals. That and four more games with the Phillies the next season comprised the total body of his major league work.
March 22: Willard Schmidt, age 78. The right-handed swingman pitched for the Cardinals between 1952 and 1957, going a career-best 10-3 in 1957 before being traded to the Reds in the Curt Flood deal that winter.
March 22: Don Dennis, age 65. Appeared on the mound in 79 games in relief for the Cardinals in the 1965 and 1966 seasons before being traded to the Chicago White Sox. He never appeared in the majors again.
April 15: Charlie Marshall, age 87. The catcher’s entire major league career consisted of one appearance with the 1941 Cardinals. He did not receive an official at-bat.
April 29: Josh Hancock, age 29. Reliever was a strong contributor on the 2006 World Championship club, appearing in 62 regular-season games before losing his life in a tragic automobile accident related to alcohol.
May 17: Bill Wight, age 85. The lefty closed out his 12-year journeyman big league career with 28 appearances for the 1958 Cardinals.
July 22: Mike Coolbaugh, age 35. The long-time minor league third baseman had a brief appearance with the Cardinals in the 2002 season. He later turned to coaching, which is what he was doing when tragically killed after being struck by a foul ball during a minor league game.
December 25: Jim Beauchamp, age 68. The first baseman/outfielder first came up with the Cardinals in 1963 before a trade to Houston prior to the 1964 season. After stops with the Braves and Reds, he was swapped by the Astros back to the Cards during the 1970 season. Beauchamp was traded again after the 1971 campaign during which he had set a career high with 162 at-bats. He later coached in the Braves organization.
In addition, former St. Louis Browns players Dick Kryhoski, Bob Malloy, Bobo Milliken and Jim Pisoni also passed away in 2007.
Our condolences go out to all of these former players’ families. Also, a tip of the cap is provided to Baseball-Reference.com for background information.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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