Wednesday, March 1, 2017

catching up on memorials

there were a number of memorials worn by a variety of teams in 2015 that i did not write about, even after finding cardboard representations to include in my memorials binder.  here are a few

sara l. buck was a minority owner of the philadelphia phillies who passed away in august of 2014 at the age of 83.  the phillies were already wearing a patch for another minority owner who had died in february of that year (claire betz), so they waited until 2015 to wear a patch for buck.  here's a 2015 topps update card of jeff francoeur showing the "slb" patch:
buck was part of the ownership group that bought the phillies in 1981.  the phillies previously wore a memorial patch for both her husband and her brother-in-law during the 2011 season.

the cardinals wore a memorial patch during the 2015 season for their teammate oscar taveras who died shortly after the 2014 season ended.  here's matt holliday's 2015 topps update card that shows the  "ot" patch:
taveras had a blood alcohol content much higher than the legal limit when he crashed his car into a tree in his native dominican republic, killing himself and his girlfriend. he had made his major league debut earlier that year, and was one of baseball's most highly touted prospects.  he was only 22 years old.

the former san francisco giants (and 49ers) and oakland a's broadcaster lon simmons died in april of 2015 at the age of 91.  the giants honored him with a "lon" patch on their left sleeves worn during the regular season.  here's ryan vogelsong's 2015 topps update card with the patch visible:
simmons broadcast giant games from 1958 through 1973.  he returned to the booth in 1976 and stayed for three years before joining the oakland a's broadcast team in 1981.  his tenure with the a's lasted through 1995, and so simmons was in the booth during the 1989 world series when the a's beat the giants.  he returned to the giants' booth in 1996 and retired following the 2002 season, although he returned to work a few games during the 2006 season.  simmons received the ford c. frick award from the hall of fame in 2004, and he was inducted into the bay area radio hall of fame two years later.

1953 american league mvp al rosen spent his entire 10-year career with the indians, and after he died in march of 2015, the club added a patch with his number 7 to their jerseys.  you can see the patch on francisco lindor's 2015 topps update rookie debut card:
rosen came within one hit of winning the triple crown in 1953 (he hit .336 to mickey vernon's .337), and led the league with 43 homers and 145 rbi.  he was a late season call-up for cleveland and had one at bat in the world series in 1948, but he still won a ring that year.  he was a big part of the team that won the pennant in 1954, but played for only two more seasons after that. rosen also served as the president of the yankees from 1978-1979, and as general manager of the astros from 1980-1985 and of the giants from 1986-1992. he was named the sporting news executive of the year in 1987 as he helped guide the giants to the nlcs for the first time since 1971.  two years later, under rosen's watch, the giants won the pennant for only the second time since moving to san francisco.  rosen was 91 years old when he died.

billy pierce died at the age of 88 on july 31, 2015, and the white sox soon thereafter added a patch to their uniforms featuring his number 19.  the patch was placed below the minnie minoso "9" patch (although mike olt's jersey had it above the minoso patch
at least once) already being worn to honor minoso, who had passed away in march.  tyler saladino's 2016 topps card shows both patches nicely:
pierce spent 13 years with the white sox (1949-1961), and led the league in each triple crown category once during his tenure with the club.  he was a member of the 1959 pennant winning team, having started 33 games during the regular season, but was used only as a reliever during the world series as chicago lost to the dodgers. pierce ranks highly on the white sox franchise leaderboard in many categories, and his 1,796 career strikeouts are most in team history.  his number 19 was retired by the club in 1987, and he is featured on the outfield mural (i hope it is still in place) at whatever the new comiskey ballpark is called these days.

milo hamilton was a broadcaster who worked for a number of teams, beginning with the st. louis browns in 1953. he also broadcast games for the st. louis cardinals, chicago cubs, chicago white sox, atlanta braves, pittsburgh pirates, chicago cubs (again), and finally, the houston astros.  while he may be best known for his call of hank aaron's 715th home run during his time as the braves' broadcaster, hamilton spent 26 years calling astros games, from 1987 through his retirement after the 2012 season. so, when he died on september 27, 2015, it was fitting that the astros added a memorial patch to their jerseys for the remainder of the season.  here's mike fiers' 2016 topps opening day card with the "mh" patch:
hamilton received the ford c. frick award in 1992 from the hall of fame, and was inducted into the national radio hall of fame in 2000.

there were also a couple of memorials in 2016 that i doubt will make their way to cardboard, although i will keep an eye out as new sets roll out this year.  just in case, however, i'll mention them here.

first up, the oakland a's honored former players tony phillips and dave henderson on opening day of the 2016 season.  topps included a photo of the a's team in their 2017 opening day insert set "opening day at the ballpark".  you can see the a's players wearing the "tp" patch above the "hendu" patch on their left chests
you can see it more clearly on mark canha's 2017 topps card
phillips, who played for the a's from 1982 through 1989 and again in his final season of 1999, died in february, 2015 at the age of 56.  he had a pretty good career with 1300 runs scored, over 2000 hits, and over 1300 walks while playing for six different franchises.  henderson is best remembered for his home run in game 6 of the 1986 alcs while with the red sox, but he played for the a's from 1988 through 1993, and was a big part of their dynasty that won three straight pennants from 1988 through 1990.  henderson was 57 when he died in december of 2015.

the last memorial i'll mention was somewhat of a makeshift one.  there was no patch, but rather an armband of sorts.  on april 22, 2016, the twins wore purple wristbands (and other accessories) while in washington d.c. to honor musician and minnesota native prince, who died at his home in chanhassen, minnesota the previous day.  here's a getty images photo of another minnesota native, joe mauer, wearing one of the wristbands on his left arm:
the twins wore the purple again when they returned to target field on april 25, and some of the visiting indian players did likewise, as shown in this getty images photo of brian dozier and marlon byrd
i was sure that topps now would have a card from this game, as oswaldo arcia hit a walk-off home run to win the game in the bottom of the 9th, but as we all know, topps did not apply their "now" criteria evenly across teams last year.  at any rate, it was a nice tribute to prince, who was a fan of his hometown's teams.

so far this year, there are two memorials that i am aware of. the marlins will wear a patch for jose fernandez (continuing the tribute that began during the last week of the 2016 season), and the royals will wear a patch to honor yordano ventura.  i would also guess that the tigers will wear a patch for mike ilitch, similar to the one that the red wings have added to their jerseys.


  1. I love these types of blog posts that find the neat little things about baseball and baseball cards. Nice post!

  2. Great research. Often we only know about the tributes in our own markets. I'll probably be on the lookout for these now.