January 2: Gerry Staley, age 87. (related article)
Staley enjoyed a 15-year career as
a major league hurler, including the unique honor of making the All-Star Game as
both a starter and reliever. After joining the organization in 1942, the
right-hander broke into the bigs with the 1947 Cardinals. Staley remained with
January 14: Don Cardwell, age 72.
The right-handed pitcher might be best known for his rotation role with the 1969 Amazin' Mets, but Cardwell was also Cardinals property for just over a month in the 1962-1963 off-season. He came over from the Cubs in the Larry Jackson trade and was spun off to the Pirates as part of the Dick Groat deal.
January 22: Lance Clemons, age 60.
A name most Cardinals fans will
not remember, Clemons' major league career lasted but 19 games, of which three
were spent as a member of the 1972 Cards. Allowing six earned runs in 5 1/3
innings marked his time with
His primary claim to fame was in
being a part of the disastrous trade of Jerry Reuss to
February 19: Bob Howsam, age 89.
The long-time major league
executive's primary claim to fame was as the general manager of
In an example of the craziness of the time, owner Gussie Busch sacked popular GM Bing Devine against the wishes of senior consultant Branch Rickey, promoting Howsam. Howsam's first order from Busch was to fire Rickey, his mentor.
In 1966, Howsam cut payroll by
trading away All-Star infielders Ken Boyer, Bill White and Dick Groat. He
resigned after that season in a move that was generally welcomed in
March 16: Bob Purkey, age 78.
The knuckleballer and three-time
All-Star starred for the Cincinnati Reds in the late ‘50's and early ‘60's.
Purkey was nearing the end of his 13-year career when traded to the Cardinals
prior to the 1965 season. He was 35 years old. Purkey had his worst career
April 8: Hersh Lyons, age 92.
OK, I admit it. I had never heard
May 14: Floyd Wooldridge, age 79.
The right-handed pitcher, a
June 17: Billy Muffett, age 77.
The right-hander appeared on the
mound in 58 games, mostly in relief, with the 1957 and 1958 Cardinals after
having been selected from the Cubs in the 1955 Rule 5 Draft. Muffett would go on
to contribute to one of the greatest Cardinals trades ever when he went to
After retirement, Muffett rejoined the Cardinals as a minor league pitching coach in 1966 and was a coach for the Cardinals from 1967 to 1970. After a long stint with the Angels, he went on to be pitching coach under former Cardinals minor league skipper Sparky Anderson with the Detroit Tigers from 1985 through 1994.
July 4: Julio Gotay, age 69.
Earlier, I mentioned the 1962
trade in which Don Cardwell moved to
July 11: Chuck Stobbs, age 79.
Stobbs spent much of the 1950's as
a member of the pitching staff of the woeful Washington Senators, but also
joined the Cardinals for 17 games in 1958. His primary claim to fame, other than
pitching for 15 years in the majors, was in giving up the famous 1953 home run
to Mickey Mantle. That ball left
July 13: Dave Ricketts, age 73.
Signed by the Cardinals in 1957, the catcher with the large, black-framed glasses made the big league club in 1963. Though Ricketts served parts of five seasons backing up starter Tim McCarver, he never saw 100 at-bats in a major league season.
Ricketts was dealt to the Pirates after the 1969 season, but after playing and coaching there, he returned to the Cardinals. The St. Louisan coached there in two stints, from 1974-1975 as well as from 1978-1991. Beloved by Cardinals players and coaches, Ricketts continued to work with Cardinals catchers well into this decade as an instructor.
September 7: Don Gutteridge, age
Exactly 72 years to the day after he began his Major League Baseball career as a second baseman with the Cardinals in 1936, Don Gutteridge passed away due to complications from pneumonia. He was the oldest living Cardinal at the time, seventh oldest former MLB player and the last surviving St. Louis Brown from their 1944 World Series club.
Gutteridge was best known as the last surviving member of the rough-and-tumble Gas House Gang Cardinals from the 1930's. He moved over to the Browns in 1942 where he played in the World Series against the Cards in 1944 and for the Boston Red Sox again vs.
The Kansan remained active in the game for the next 40 years, managing the Chicago White Sox for 281 games in 1969 and 1970 and scouting for the Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While I have covered Kissell's life and untimely death in considerable detail in multiple articles, I have several additional details about his life to share, courtesy of the fine folks at Baseball-Reference.com.
Kissell didn't become an instructor in the minors until 1976. Most of the time from his retirement as a player in 1946 until then was spent managing in the Cardinals minor leagues, from Triple-A Omaha all the way down to the Gulf Coast League. Kissell also scouted and served six years as a big-league coach under Red Schoendienst.
Among the managers encouraged to enter that profession by Kissell are Hall of Famer Earl Weaver and future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa.
November 9: Preacher Roe, age 93.
November 24: Tom Burgess, age 81.
The Canadian first baseman signed
with the post-war Cardinals in 1946 and finally made it to
Burgess managed in the Cardinals
minor league system from 1969 through 1975. The member of the Canadian Baseball
Hall of Fame coached for Team
November 28: Fred McAlister, age 80.
Few served the Cardinals in more diverse and important roles than Fred McAlister, who began as a player, then a manager, scout and finally farm director for a over dozen years, from 1981 through 1993.
"He was one of the best judges of amateur talent in the history of the game," said former Cardinals manager/general manager Whitey Herzog, who promoted McAlister to be his scouting director. McAlister was with the Cardinals' organization from 1945, when he signed out of high school. The organization's annual scout of the year award is named in his honor.
December 11: Sal Yvars, age 84.
After spending parts of seven
seasons with the New York Giants as a back up catcher, Yvars was purchased by
the Cardinals during the 1953 season. He remained with the club through the 1954
season, after which he was traded to
In addition to the unusual last name, pronounced "E-vers", Yvars also had a statistical oddity as a Cardinal. In both the partial 1953 and full 1954 seasons, he went an identical 14-for-57, .246, at the plate.
2007 article: link
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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