In memory of former St. Louis Cardinals: 2013

Our eighth annual feature remembering 13 former St. Louis Cardinals who passed away during the last year, including the greatest Cardinal of all time.

The title of the oldest living former St. Louis Cardinals player continues to be Bill Endicott, age 95. The outfielder, then 27 years of age, appeared in just 20 games for the 1946 Cardinals after returning from service during World War II.

Those who held the title most recently prior to Endicott are as follows. In 2012, former pitcher Freddy Schmidt passed away at the age of 95. Two years earlier, Don Lang, the 95-year-old former third baseman from the 1948 club, left us. Herman Franks, then 95, passed away in 2009, preceded by 96-year-old Don Gutteridge in 2008 and Ernie Koy, aged 97 upon his death in 2007. 100-year-old Lee Cunningham passed in 2005. 

Of course, the oldest Cardinal who died during the course of this past year was 92-year-old Stan Musial. “The Man” had been the living Cardinal who had played for St. Louis the longest ago, having first arrived in the bigs in September 1941.

90-year-old Red Schoendienst, who debuted in April 1945 wearing Musial’s familiar number 6, is now first on that list.   

2013 Cardinals deaths

January 7: Jim Cosman, age 69 

In a final day start in 1966 much like Shelby Miller’s in 2012, the right-hander had one of the most impressive debuts by any pitcher in Cardinals history. Cosman threw a two-hit complete-game shutout at the Cubs. That was his 15 minutes of fame as he appeared in just 11 more big-league games (in 1967 for the Cardinals and in 1970 for the Cubs). Cosman later became an executive in the waste disposal industry. Obit

January 19: Stan Musial, age 92 

A three-time National League MVP (1943, 1946 and 1948) and winner of seven NL batting titles, Musial played in 24 All-Star Games (from 1959-62, Major League Baseball held two All-Star Games each season) and finished his career with a .331 batting average. At the time of his retirement, Musial stood as the National League’s all-time career record holder in games (3,026), runs scored (1,949), hits (3,630), doubles (725) and runs batted in (1,951) among other records, and he was still ranked among the top 10 in those categories in 2012.

So much more can be said about the greatest St. Louis Cardinals player of all time and a great human being as well.  link 

Whitfield had a strong rookie year

January 31: Fred Whitfield, age 75

At the age of 24, the first baseman made his MLB debut with the 1962 Cardinals and was named to the Topps all-star rookie team. Following the season, Whitfield was traded to Cleveland in a deal that brought St. Louis reliever Ron Taylor. Whitfield had his best MLB seasons with the Tribe in 1965 and 1966, when he hit a total of 53 home runs. 

April 1: Bob Smith, age 82

The left-handed pitcher was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft in December 1956, By the next May, after six appearances with St. Louis, Smith’s contract was sold to the Pirates. His MLB career ended in 1959, but Smith continued to pitch in the minors through 1964. 

April 11: Grady Hatton, age 90

The long-time Cincinnati third baseman joined St. Louis in May 1956 but did not last the season. After 44 games wearing the Birds on the Bat, Hatton’s contract was sold to the other birds from Baltimore on August 1. 

May 21: Cot Deal, age 90

Before a long career as a major league coach, Deal was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in 36 of his 45 MLB games for the 1950 and 1954 Cardinals. From joining the organization in 1949 through the end of his career in 1958, Deal won 87 games at the Triple-A level for St. Louis.  

June 19: Gene Freese, age 81

The infielder played a dozen years in the majors with six teams, but spent only one partial season with the Cardinals, the second half of 1958, after coming over from Pittsburgh. After the season, he was dealt to the Phillies for Solly Hemus, who became Cardinals player-manager in 1959. Freese later had his best season in 1961 with the National League Champion Cincinnati Reds, hitting 26 home runs and driving in 87.  

July 8: Dick Gray, age 79

The infielder, who spent parts of four seasons in the majors, is best known for hitting the first Dodgers home run in Los Angeles (in 1958). Gray was acquired by the Cards in June 1959 and remained less than a year. The next May, he was dealt to the Pirates in what became an important step toward the Cardinals’ success in the 1960’s – the deal that brought second baseman Julian Javier to St. Louis. 

August 9: Glen Hobbie, age 77

Having spent most of his major league career as a Chicago Cub, the right-handed pitcher joined St. Louis in June 1964. Hobbie was soon dispatched to Triple-A, missing his only chance of playing in the post-season. Before the 1965 season, the Cards dealt the Illinois native to Detroit, but he never returned to the bigs. 

August 9: Harry Elliott, age 89

After starting his professional career at the advanced age of 27, the bespectacled outfielder reached St. Louis at the age of 30 in August 1953 - as the Korean War ended. He was back for the entire 1955 season, playing in 68 games before leaving the organization. Elliott retired after the 1958 season and coached in his native California.   

Silvey as a minor leaguer

August 20: George Silvey, age 102

The first baseman played a decade in the Cardinals minor league system starting in 1932, including a stint as a player-manager. He remained in the organization almost continuously until 1976, working in player development and scouting. Silvey became the Cardinals' director of scouting in 1962 and either led scouting or player development as farm system head for the next 14 years. After leaving the Cards, the St. Louis resident scouted for the Cubs, Yankees and Giants until his 1988 retirement. 

October 1: Ellis Burton, age 77

The outfielder began in the Pittsburgh organization before joining the Cardinals system via the minor league draft at the end of 1957. By the end of the next season, Burton made his MLB debut. After a total of 37 major league games in 1958-59, he was dealt to Toronto of the International League in early 1961. Burton returned to the bigs with the Indians and Cubs from 1963-65. 

October 27: Eddie Erautt, age 89

The right-handed pitcher and Army veteran spent most of his six-year MLB career with Cincinnati, finishing with 20 games with St. Louis in 1953. The Oregon native may be most remembered for being part of the January 1954 trade with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League that netted the Cardinals their first black player, Tom Alston. Erautt lived out his retirement years in California. 

Remembering the Browns

At least six former St. Louis Browns players passed away in 2013: Virgil Trucks (age 95) on March 23, Bob Turley (age 83) on March 31, Matt Batts (91) on July 14, Bob Savage (91) on July 26, Babe Martin (93) on August 1 and Don Lund (90) on December 10.  

Previous years’ articles: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006


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