Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recent MLB passings (Bob Shaw, Ray Coleman, Al Pilarcik)

This past week was a sad week for old-time baseball fans as a few more legends have passed on. It is said that celebrity deaths happen in triplicate and three baseball greats passed on this week, each with their link to baseball's history.

Ray Coleman
Former outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox, Ray Coleman passed away September 19th at the age of 88. Coleman served valiantly in World War II from 1943-45 traveling all over the Pacific in the Navy. He would make his debut with the Browns in 1947 and would be witness to both Willard Brown and Hank Thompson joining the team that year, making them only the second and third African-Americans to play in the majors. I had the opportunity to speak with Coleman a few years ago and he spoke proudly of his World War II service.

Al Pilarcik

  Al Pilarcik was an outfielder for the Kansas City Athletic, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox from 1956-1961. He passed away Monday September 20th at the age of 80. 50 years prior to his passing, on September 28, 1960, he caught the last out Ted Williams made in his career. Pilarcik later gladly handed it over to the Hall of Fame. After his playing career was finished, he had tremendous success as a high school teacher and baseball coach at Lake Central High School, earning an induction into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

Bob Shaw

Bob Shaw, a famed member of the 1959 "Go-Go" White Sox, who led the league that year with an astounding .750 win percentage passed away Thursday September 23, 2010 at the age of 77. Shaw pitched a legendary battle in Game 5 of the 1959 World Series where he triumphed over Sandy Koufax in front of 92,000 fans. He would go on to pitch for seven teams during his 11-year major league career, including being traded for the aforementioned Al Pilarcik to the Kansas City Athletics in 1961. He would find success after his baseball career as a real estate investor and an American Legion baseball coach.


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