Showing posts with label Eddie Joost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eddie Joost. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Major League Baseball lost over 90 alumni in 2011

Dick Williams
Duke Snider
Always one of the sadder pieces that I write annually, reflecting on the major league alumni that died during the past year. In 2011, over 90 former big leaguers passed away including Hall of Famers Duke Snider, Harmon Killebrew, and Dick Williams.

The amount of living Negro League players continued to dwindle with the deaths of veterans Bill "Ready" Cash, Stanley Glenn, Millito Navarro, George Crowe and Butch McCord.

Tito Landrum was generous enough to share his thoughts on "Macho Man" Randy Savage (Poffo) who was his teammate in the Cardinals organization.

I feel fortunate to have been able to speak with many of these legends and get their memories on tape.

Below are a recap of the articles that I have penned this year, many containing personal photos and excerpts from interviews that I conducted with them during the course of my research. Feel free to share your memories of these legends that have moved on to greener pastures in 2011.

Major League Alumni
Marty Marion
Dick Williams kindled special friendship with his lunch crew
Nick Strincevich, 3rd oldest major league player dies at 96
Cole and Smalley Jr's deaths link a history started 57 years prior
Former Brooklyn Dodgers Schmitz and Buker pass away
Eddie Bockman, scout that signed Larry Bowa and four year MLB veteran, dies at 91
Joe Caffie Indians outfielder that started in the Negro Leagues, dies at 80
Ernie Johnson, 87, Braves pitcher, announcer and World War II veteran
Bob "Tex" Nelson's career a golden example of the flawed bonus rule
Federoff's influence has a lasting impact on the Tigers organization
Wes Covington, 79, 1957 World Series hero
Jose A. Pagan, 76, played 15 seasons with three clubs
Billy Harris, 79, former Brooklyn Dodger
Wes Covington
Duane Pillette, 88, teammate of Satchel Paige on St. Louis Browns
Eddie Joost, 94, last manager of the Philadelphia Athletics dies
Spook Jacobs: "He's worth $30,000 in the minor leagues!"
Marty Marion, former National League MVP, dies at 93
Duke Snider's Philadelphia grab eclipsed that of Willie Mays in the World Series
Former New York Mets catcher Greg Goossen passes away at 65
Recent Brooklyn Dodger passings - Tony Malinosky, Gino Cimoli, Cliff Dapper
Tony Malinosky,101, former Brooklyn Dodger passes away
George Crowe, 89, former Negro League player and Major League All-Star
Roy Hartsfield, 85, First Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, 1925-2011
Ryne Duren, 81, 3-time All-Star, 1929-2011

Negro League Alumni
Butch McCord

Bill 'Ready' Cash, veteran of eight Negro League seasons dies at 91
Negro League legend Willie "Curly" Williams left a lasting impact on many
Emilio 'Millito' Navarro, 105, world's oldest living baseball player
Stanley Glenn, 84, Negro League catcher and president
Bill Deck's exciting journey through the Negro Leagues
Butch McCord leaves behind a baseball legacy of a lifetime

Minor League Stars
"Macho Man" Randy Savage remembered by his baseball teammate Tito Landrum
Andres Fleitas, 95, Cuban Baseball Great (1916-2011)
Russell Rac, 81, hit four home runs in one game while with the St. Louis Cardinals organization
Bill Tosheff, first NBA rookie of the year, moonlighted as a strong armed pitcher
Bill Deck

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eddie Joost, 94, last manager of the Philadelphia Athletics dies

Two-time All-Star shortstop and the last manager of the Philadelphia Athletics franchise Eddie Joost passed away Tuesday in Fair Oaks, CA. He was 94.

Joost began his major league career in 1936 with the Cincinnati Reds after starting only three seasons prior with the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League. Quickly disregarded by manager Charlie Dressen, who said Joost, "will never be a major league player," he became the starting second baseman for the Reds when they won the World Series in 1940.

Eddie Joost with the author @ Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society 8/2008
After his World Series victory, his career was derailed as he committed 45 errors at shortstop for the next two consecutive seasons. Joost was jettisoned to the Boston Braves in 1943 where he hit .185 in 496 at-bats. He skipped the 1944 season to work for a meat packer that was an essential service to the war efforts. Returning to Boston in 1945 rested and refreshed, Joost was off to a strong start when his wrist was broken by Billy Jurges sliding into second base.

The Braves suspended Joost after they claimed he deserted the club once they let him go home following his injury. With his career stalled on the suspended list, Joost thought his days were over. Rescued by the Rochester Red Wings of the AAA International League, Joost flourished. In 1946, he had career highs in home runs and RBIs. This tremendous showing piqued the interest of the legendary Connie Mack.

The 84-year-old Mack was looking for a shortstop after a dismal finish to the 1946 season. When Mack contacted Joost, he reassured the veteran that he wasn't concerned with his rocky past.

"You can play. That's all I care about," Mack said.

Nineteen-forty-seven began a eight-year stay with the Athletics where Joost earned MVP considerations five times along with two All-Star selections. Between 1947 and 1952, Joost slugged 109 home runs, while walking over 100 times in each of the six seasons.

At the end of the 1953 season with Joost now 37 and the Athletics in financial disarray, he was offered the position of player-manager in a cost-cutting move. Once again, Joost was unsure of his abilities. New to managing, Joost expressed his concerns to Mr. Mack. Mack reassured his faith in Joost.

"You've been a great player for me," Mack said. "I know you'll do well."

The Athletics, who had only one starter that hit over .300 that season, finished in last place in the American League with 103 losses. When the Athletics moved to Kansas City following the 1954 season, Joost was not asked to go west with the team.

Seeking a large bonus to continue his career, Joost signed with the Boston Red Sox for $10,000 in 1955. Joost suffered a broken hand early in the season and never effectively recovered to regain his old form. He briefly managed in the Red Sox farm system the following season with the San Francisco Seals, but quit the team quickly when he was turned off by the individualistic nature of their young bonus players.

"They were all individual players, all great, but we kept losing. I quit, and walked away from baseball," Joost said.

After his baseball career had ended, Joost moved to Hawaii, where he worked for Wilson Sporting Goods before retiring. I had the opportunity to meet Joost in 2008 (pictured above) at the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society Museum. Joost was a frequent supporter of the society and at the time was extremely lucid and pleasant. I was impressed by the vigor and firm handshake he displayed at the age of 92 that represented a man much younger than his years. It was this youthful spirit he exuded that kept him going much longer when many others would have perished.

More Info -
Big-leaguer Eddie Joost dies at 94 -
Eddie Joost recalls how Connie Mack revived his big league career - Baseball Digest
Baseball History Podcast: Eddie Joost - Baseball History Podcast