Archive for Baseball

Hank Greenberg

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , , on October 8, 2018 by Cade

January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986

Hank Greenberg was a Hall of Fame baseball player who is widely regarded as one of the best sluggers of the 1930s and ’40s. Nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank” (or “The Hebrew Hammer”) he was a 5-time All-Star, 2-time league MVP and won 2 World Series titles with the Detroit Tigers. He led the American League in home runs 4 times. Despite his historic success and consistent numbers, Greenberg is perhaps most fondly remembered for the nearly 4-year period in the middle of his career when he left baseball to serve in the Army before and during the United States’ involvement in World War II. After his military service concluded, he returned to the field and continued posting impressive stats. After 11 seasons in Detroit and a final year in Pittsburgh, Greenberg retired. His final career batting average was .313 and he hit a total of 331 home runs. Only history can speculate what those numbers would have looked like if he’d played the entire time. He went on to work in the Cleveland organization where he was instrumental in the continuing integration of African-American players into Major League Baseball. He died of kidney cancer at the age of 75.

Burial

Hillside Memorial Park – Culver City, CA

Specific Location

Courts of the Book, Isaiah, Wall V, Crypt 340; Along the wall of outside wall crypts, Hank is buried in section V, 3rd row up in the far left column of a section of darker marble crypts.

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Jackie Robinson

Posted in Cypress Hills Cemetery with tags , , on November 18, 2016 by Cade

robinson5January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972

It would be incredibly easy to just speak of Jackie Robinson in the terms of his single most famous accomplishment: becoming the first black player in modern Major League Baseball. But, it would miss out on so much. For instance, Jack was a tremendously gifted ALL-AROUND athlete. He excelled in multiple sports through high school and eventually lettered in FOUR different sports while attending UCLA. He played semi-professional football until the U.S. was dragged into World War II in 1941. Because of the latter, he was drafted into the Army, but never saw combat due to a trumped-up court martial (he was ultimately acquitted). After the war, Robinson signed to play with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. He was immediately identified by a number of major league teams – some serious, some not so much – as a legitimate candidate to become the first black player in the majors. Ultimately, Brooklyn Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, convinced Robinson to sign with the Dodgers’ minor league club. The controversy was swift and came from all sides. Several Negro Leaguers complained that Robinson wasn’t even the best black player (fair argument) and there was, of course, the obvious fall-out from pro-segregation folks. Despite Robinson’s sometimes fiery temperament, Rickey asked him to have “guts enough not to fight back.” It was this agreement that allowed Robinson to succeed in the minors and make his major league debut with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. The floodgates of integration soon followed and the sport – and American culture at large – would never look the same. Jackie Robinson would play for the Dodgers for 10 years, playing in 6 World Series, earning an MVP award and, ultimately, becoming the first black inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Outside of baseball, Jack was a businessman, a civil rights activist and an anti-drug crusader. He died at the age of 53 of complications from diabetes and heart disease. He has since been honored and recognized more than any other player in the history of the game. In 1997, the MLB universally retired Robinson’s number “42” for all teams. April 15th of every season is now known as “Jackie Robinson Day.”

Burial

Cypress Hills Cemetery – Brooklyn, NY

 

Specific Location

Section 6, Lot P, Grave 8; At the intersection of Cypress Road and, well…Jackie Robinson Way. Across from the the Memorial Abbey.

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Jack Buck

Posted in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with tags , , on April 22, 2014 by Cade

buck1August 21, 1924 – June 18, 2002

John Francis “Jack” Buck was a Hall of Fame broadcaster primarily known for his work for the St. Louis Cardinals. In addition to his play-by-play work for St. Louis, he also covered radio for more than a dozen World Series and Superbowl broadcasts as well as other, prominent events. Buck served in the military as a young man where he received a Purple Heart in France during World War II. After the war – and college – Jack began his career as a broadcaster, working alongside fellow legends Harry Caray and Joe Garagiola. He worked his way through the ranks and became the Cardinals’ go-to play-by-play guy in 1969. His career blossomed and he spent the next couple of decades as one of the most revered broadcasters in America. As his health declined (he had a LOT of health issues,) he returned to solely cover Cardinals’ home games as a form of retirement. His last public appearance was shortly after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks when he stated: “I don’t know about you, but as for me, the question has already been answered: Should we be here? Yes!” Jack Buck died the following summer at the age of 77.

Burial

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery – St. Louis County, MO

Specific Location

Section 85, Grave 117 – Enter the cemetery’s main entrance, go left on Flagstaff Dr. at the first roundabout, at the next roundabout (Circle Dr.) stop on the north side, Jack is buried in the second full row of markers to the west of the top of this loop.

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James “Cool Papa” Bell

Posted in St. Peters Cemetery (MO) with tags , , on March 14, 2014 by Cade

bell1May 17, 1903 – March 7, 1991

“Cool Papa Bell was so fast that he could turn out the lights and be under the covers before the room got dark.” – Satchel Paige

James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell was a Negro Leagues center fielder who is widely regarded as one of the fastest men to ever play the position. His 28-year career in both the U.S. and Latin America garnered plenty of attention during the height of the popularity of the Negro Leagues. A feared baserunner, Bell was known to steal 2nd and 3rd base in a single play. Pitchers tried to avoid walking him as, once he was on base, he would almost assuredly score a run. On defense, it was thought to be impossible to hit the ball over his head because of his speed. Though many of the stories of his speed are mythical, his skill and talent certainly were legitimate. He batted .337 lifetime, was an 8 time All-Star and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 – just the 5th Negro Leagues player to achieve that honor. Since such records were not kept at the time, it’s impossible to know exactly how many stolen bases he had, but it was undoubtedly a lot. After his playing career ended, he was a scout for the St. Louis Browns. He died of a heart attack in 1991 at the age of 87.

Burial

St. Peters Cemetery – Normandy, MO

Specific Location

Outside of the small, outdoor mausoleum at the southeastern corner of the cemetery.

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Dan Quisenberry

Posted in Mt. Moriah Cemetery with tags , , on February 7, 2014 by Cade

quis1February 7, 1953 – September 30, 1998

The giant scoreboard that towers over center field at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium said it best throughout the 1980’s. When Dan Quisenberry – the closer with the unmistakable submarine delivery – entered the game, a graphic appeared that read: “There’s no berry like a Quisenberry.”

Dan Quisenberry was one of the most dominant closing pitchers in the American League all through the early ’80’s. He set the single-season saves record 5 times and retired with a total of 244 saves. He helped the Kansas City Royals win their first World Series title in 1985. After leaving baseball due to a shoulder injury, “Quiz” spent his time writing and became a published poet. In 1998, at the age of just 45, Dan Quisenberry died of brain cancer.

Burial

Mt. Moriah Cemetery – Kansas City, MO

Specific Location

Under a bench with QUISENBERRY on it.

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Buck O’Neil

Posted in Forest Hill Cemetery (MO) with tags , , , on December 26, 2013 by Cade

oneil1November 13, 1911 – October 6, 2006

In lieu of writing something new about Buck O’Neil, I decided I will just re-post the tribute I wrote about him on an old blog the day after he died:

There is a man. Revered in some circles. Beloved in others. Unknown in most. To those who did know him, he was simply known as “Buck.”

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil died yesterday at the age of 94. This is a sad day for the city of Kansas City. And, it is a sad day for the sport he loved and came to embody: baseball.

Buck’s career in baseball spanned 7 decades. He was a player, a coach, a scout and an ambassador. He began playing in Memphis in the newly formed Negro American League 1937. A year later, he was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs where he would stay (serving as first baseman and – eventually – manager) until 1955. After his stint in KC, he went on to become a scout for the Chicago Cubs. A position that led in 1962 to him being named a coach…the first black coach in the major leagues.

In 1988, he returned to Kansas City as a scout for the Royals. Shortly thereafter, he helped lead the charge to create a museum dedicated solely to the players and teams that made up the Negro Leagues. The museum opened in 1990 and found its new home in Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine district in 1994. Buck continued to work as honorary chairman until his death.

Most recently, (this summer in fact) Buck played in the Northern League All-Star game as a member of the Kansas City T-Bones minor league team. He was intentionally walked. Continue reading

Satchel Paige

Posted in Forest Hill Cemetery (MO) with tags , , , on October 25, 2013 by Cade

paige1July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982

One of the most celebrated pitchers of the Negro Leagues, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige dazzled crowds with his charismatic personality and wide array of pitches. In 1948, Paige became the oldest rookie to play in Major League Baseball when he started for the Cleveland Indians at the age of 42. His five year MLB career was impressive, especially for someone in his 40’s, but his 20+ years touring the country in the Negro Leagues and stints in Latin America were what built his legacy. A natural showman, Satchel was known to tell his infielders to sit down on the field while he struck out batter after batter. He was considered by many of his contemporaries to be one of the best pitchers of all time.

In his post-playing years, he dabbled in acting and politics. And, in 1971, Satchel Paige was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the first former Negro Leaguer to receive that honor.

Burial

Forest Hill Cemetery – Kansas City, MO

Specific Location

Toward the center of the southern section of the park is a small “island” of lawn surround by road, Satchel’s rather large marker dominates this island.

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Lou Gehrig

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , , on October 7, 2013 by Cade

gehrig1June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941

It doesn’t get much more “New York” than Hall of Famer Henry Louis Gehrig. He was born in New York. He died in New York. And, he played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees. As a player, Gehrig was outstanding. With a career batting average of .340, the left-handed first baseman was a 7-time All-Star, won six World Series titles won the Triple Crown in 1934 and set franchise offensive records that stood for more than 70 years. Nicknamed, “The Iron Horse,” Gehrig set one of his most famous records when he played in 2.130 consecutive games – a feat eventually broken by Cal Ripkin, Jr some 56 years later.

Off the field, Gehrig is probably most notably and tragically remembered for being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – the disease which would eventually be associated colloquially with his name. He walked away from baseball in 1939 after delivering his iconic “Luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech at Yankee Stadium. He died of ALS just two years later. He was 37 years-old.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 93, Lot 12686; On the eastern side of a loop in Ossipee Ave., 2nd row back.

kensico_gehrig

Stan Musial

Posted in Bellerive Gardens with tags , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Cade

musial1

November 21, 1920 – January 19, 2013

Stanisław Franciszek Musial, better known to baseball fans as Stan “The Man,” was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee and one of the best hitters of all time.  Throughout his 22 year career, Musial batted .331 with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 runs batted in for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a 24-time All-Star, 7-time National League batting champion, 3-time NL MVP and helped lead the Cardinals to 3 World Series titles. Oh, and he took a year off to serve the Navy at the end of World War II. He also played a mean harmonica.  All in all, there are few players in the history of the game that were as beloved to one particular team than Stan was to the Cardinals.  Musial died in his home on January 19, 2013 at the age of 92. Fans immediately swarmed the statue of his likeness that sits outside of Busch Stadium in St. Louis and it became a public memorial.

Burial

Bellerive Gardens – Creve Coeur, MO

Specific Location

Legends Family Estates – At the back left (northeast) corner of the cemetery is a section of family gardens, enter through the REFLECTION GARDEN archway and take the road until you reach a circular turnaround; stop at the beginning of this turnaround, Stan and his wife, Lillian, are buried to your right, looking back toward the mausoleum.

Babe Ruth

Posted in Gate of Heaven Cemetery with tags , , on April 13, 2013 by Cade

ruth1

February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948

Look, I hate the Yankees.  I have hated the Yankees my whole life.  I HATE, hate them. Hate.

But, George Herman Ruth transcends mere pinstripes.  He is perhaps the most famous baseball player of all time.  Brandishing nicknames like “The Great Bambino,” “The Sultan of Swat” and – most simply and memorably – “Babe,” he dominated the game for 20 years.  He set records for nearly every conceivable hitting category and was instrumental in the explosion of baseball’s popularity.  Despite the uniform, he deserves all the accolades he has been given.

Besides, without Babe Ruth, the movie The Sandlot wouldn’t make  any sense at all. And that would be sad.

Burial

Gate of Heaven Cemetery– Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 25, Plot 1115; Up the hill on the main road in the cemetery, turn right at Section 25, Babe’s grave is on your left about 50 feet from the road.

GOH_ruth