EppsNet Archive: Obituaries

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Ray Fosse

 

Ray Fosse was a major league catcher from 1967 to 1979, a two-time All-Star for the Cleveland Indians, a two-time World Series champion with the Oakland A’s, and a two-time Gold Glove winner. It probably has to be said that Fosse may be best remembered for the final play of the 1970 All-Star Game, in which he was injured in a collision with Pete Rose at home plate. Fosse sustained a fractured and separated shoulder, which healed incorrectly, causing chronic pain that was never entirely resolved. It was a controversial play. Rose said that he was simply trying to win the game, and it was well known that he played the game as aggressively as anyone. I assume Fosse thought that even Rose wouldn’t try to bolo him in an exhibition game, or maybe he was just trying to make a good baseball play. It does look from the photo… Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: J.R. Richard

 

Houston Astros icon J.R. Richard, whose career was cut short by stroke in 1980, dies at age 71 — espn.com We had a couple of catchers, one came with his arm in a sling and another came on crutches. There was something called J.R.-itis which was an incurable disease when you’re scared of J.R. Richard. It was like J.R. was only throwing from about 50 feet. With his reach and he was all legs, you didn’t have much time to make up your mind. … You didn’t really feel comfortable at the plate. He was the toughest guy I ever faced. — Dusty Baker Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Henry Aaron

 

Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron was an outfielder with the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. He was a 25-time All-Star, was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1982, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He holds the MLB career records for RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856), and was baseball’s home run king from 1974, when he hit number 715 off the Dodgers’ Al Downing, until 2007, when he was surpassed by the cheater Barry Bonds, who made a mockery of the most hallowed page of the MLB record book. Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001 at the age of 37, and as Reggie Jackson said at the time, he would have hit 100 if anybody had pitched to him (he also had 177 walks). Aaron never hit more than 45 home home runs in a single season. Muhammad Ali once called… Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Jake Scott

 

Jake Scott was a free safety best known for his work with the Miami Dolphins. Scott was a key member of the 1972 Dolphins’ undefeated season, and the championship teams of Super Bowl VII and VIII. He was a legendary closer and finisher, a punishing tackler and a superb pass defender. He had 35 interceptions in six seasons with Miami, most in team history, and also holds the career interceptions record at the University of Georgia. Scott was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, twice a first team All-Pro and was voted MVP of Super Bowl VII, a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins in which he had two interceptions. RIP Jake Scott Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Jim Kiick

 

Jim Kiick was a running back, primarily with the Miami Dolphins, from 1968 to 1977. He played in three Super Bowls, winning two, and scored the decisive touchdown in Super Bowl VII, a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins that capped off an undefeated 17-0 swason. He is the Dolphins’ fourth all-time leading rusher. Kiick had been suffering from dementia and living in an assisted care center for several years prior to his death. RIP Jim Kiick Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Wes Unseld

 

Wes Unseld was the second overall pick by the Baltimore Bullets in 1968. He was the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same year. At 6-foot-7, he played center and averaged 14 rebounds a game for his career. He played in four NBA finals with the Bullets, winning one, in which he was voted MVP, in 1978. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. RIP Wes Unseld Read more →

Little Richard, 1932-2020

 

[Trigger warning for language :o] It’s very easy for people to forget what rock and roll really is. Look man, I’m forty-seven years old, and I grew up in Wyoming, and I stole cars and drove five hundred miles to watch Little Richard, and I wanna tell you somethin’ — when I saw this nigger come out in a gold suit, fuckin’ hair flyin’, and leap up onstage and come down on his piano bangin’ and goin’ fuckin’ nuts in Salt Lake City, I went, “Hey man, I wanna be like him. This is what I want.” — David Briggs, quoted by Neil Young in Waging Heavy Peace RIP “Little Richard” Penniman Read more →

Kobe Bryant, 1978-2013

 

One never knows when the blow may fall, Mamba Mentality notwithstanding. He wakes up this morning and a few hours later he dies at the age of 41. It sounds like they may have been flying through fog and hit a hillside rather than hitting the ground. Is there enough time to grab your daughter’s hand and say “I love you” or is it all over too fast? Which would be better or worse? RIP Kobe Bryant, Gianna and all the other passengers Read more →

Steve Martin Caro, 1948-2020

 

He was the lead singer on one of my favorite 1960s songs . . . RIP Steve Martin Caro Read more →

W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019

 

I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. W.S. Merwin RIP W.S. Merwin Also . . . “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin How Can You Ever Be Sure? Read more →

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Frank Robinson

 

Frank Robinson played and managed for a number of teams, but I remember him best as part of the Baltimore Oriole teams managed by Earl Weaver, with Mark Belanger, Davey Johnson, Boog Powell, Don Buford, Paul Blair, Andy Etchebarren, Elrod Hendricks, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Tom Phoebus, and fellow Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. RIP Frank Robinson Read more →

Mary Oliver, 1935 – 2019

 

Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She died today of lymphoma at the age of 83. The Poetry Foundation has a biography and a selection of poems, although I prefer the selection at the Peaceful Rivers site. Her work had a Whitmanesque love of life. I’ve included one of my favorites here: The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full… Read more →

Willie McCovey, 1938-2018

 

Willie McCovey: Giants legend dead at 80 — SFChronicle.com My boyhood sports idols are dying . . . RIP Willie McCovey Read more →

Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018

 

I think of Anthony Bourdain as the guy who started the whole “bad-boy chef” industry, which has been, in my view, bad for society. Or maybe it was Gordon Ramsay. Is Gordon Ramsay still alive? RIP Anthony Bourdain Read more →

Philip Roth, 1933-2018

 

The final question assigned to the class was “What is life?” Merry’s answer was something her father and mother chuckled over together that night. According to Merry, while the other students labored busily away with their phony deep thoughts, she — after an hour of thinking at her desk — wrote a single, unplatitudinous declarative sentence: “Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive.” “You know,” said the Swede, “it’s smarter then it sounds. She’s a kid — how has she figured out that life is short? She is somethin’, our precocious daughter. This girl is going to Harvard.” But once again the teacher didn’t agree, and she wrote beside Merry’s answer, “Is that all?” Yes, the Swede thought now, that is all. Thank God, that is all; even that is unendurable. — American Pastoral RIP Philip Roth Read more →

Tom Wolfe, 1930-2018

 

Everything that bloggers have done for journalism — and I personally think they’ve done a lot — Wolfe did it first, he did it 30 years earlier, and he did it better. And I think we’re still catching up to him. — Lev Grossman Tom Wolfe had a rare combination of ideas, insight and a virtuosity with language. A lot of writers do well with at most one out of the three. You can read Tom Wolfe quotes all over the web but I include one of my favorites (from The Bonfire of the Vanities) here: Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of… Read more →

Connie Hawkins, 1942-2017

 

Connie Hawkins was my basketball role model growing up. I used to stretch my fingers around basketballs religiously so I could try to replicate his moves, most of which required the ability to palm the ball like a grapefruit (see photo). Also: Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story by David Wolf is one of the best sports books ever written. RIP Connie Hawkins Read more →

Tom Petty, 1950-2017

 

In December 2016, Tom Petty talked with Rolling Stone about his then-upcoming 2017 tour, which just ended last week at the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles: I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. Sad, as President Trump would say. Big life events can kill you . . . RIP Tom Petty Read more →

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