For Auld Lang Syne

Dedeaux, Minner, Howe, Seidler, Banta, Nelson, Mikkelsen and Sherry departed the stage during the year just past and while it is sad to see them depart, we celebrate their time and their accomplishments while they were with us.

"Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song that was written in the 1700s by Robert Burns. A translation of the words "auld lang syne" is "times gone by." So when we sing this song, we are saying, "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet for times gone by."

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?

Rod Dedeaux appeared in just two games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935. Dedeaux died on Jan. 5, 2006 in Glendale. He was 91. He made his major league debut on Sept. 28, 1935 with Brooklyn. His last game in the majors came the next day on Sept. 29. He came to bat four times, singled and knocked in a run. His contributions to baseball, however extended far beyond that. When he retired in 1986, he had spent 45 years as baseball coach at the University of Southern California. He finished with a career record of 1,332-571-11. During his time at USC, his teams won 11 national titles and 28 conference championships. He retired as USC baseball coach in 1986 and became director of baseball at the school. In 1984, he was the head coach of the US baseball team at the Olympics in Los Angeles.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

Paul Minner, a pitcher who won 69 games in the major leagues, and pitched for the Dodgers in 1946, 1948 and 1949, died on March 28, 2006 in Lemoyne, Penn. He was 82. He recorded a 7-5. 2.73 record for Brooklyn over 58 games. He pitched for 10 seasons in the major leagues, posting a 69-84 record in 1,310.1 innings pitched. He recorded 481 strikeouts and a 3.94 career ERA. He also pitched for the Cubs and according to reports, he won 21 games in his career against the St. Louis Cardinals. A back injury in 1956 brought his career to a close. Minner became the first player to pitch under artificial light in the World Series. The moment happened in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the 1949 World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers. Minner came on to pitch in the ninth inning and lights were turned

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,

Steve Howe, an outstanding yet tragic relief pitcher for the Dodgers, died in Coachella, Calif., on April 28, 2006, after his pickup truck rolled over. He was 48. He made his debut with the Dodgers in 1980 and was named the National League Rookie of the Year. In 1981, he closed out the Dodgers' win in the World Series and he was named to the All-Star team in 1982. In 1982, he pitched a career-high 99.1 innings and posted a 7-5 record and 13 saves with a 2.08 ERA. He was 223-24, 2.35 during his Dodger career with 59 saves over 231 games. In all, Howe pitched for 12 seasons in the major leagues, posting a 47-41 record and 91 saves in 606 innings pitched. He appeared in 497 games, struck out 328 batters and finished with a career 3.03 ERA. His success as a pitcher, however, was overshadowed by his addiction problems off the field. He was suspended from baseball seven times.

We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Roland Seidler 77, married Walter O'Malley's daughter, Terry, and held several positions within the Dodgers organization including serving on the board of directors and working as treasurer from 1975 to 1998. He died June 8, 2006 in Los Angeles.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?

Jack Banta , a side-armed relief pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, died on Sept. 17, 2006 in Hutchinson, Kan. He was 81. He pitched four seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-48-49-50), posting a 14-12 record and a 3.78 ERA. He recorded 116 strikeouts and five saves in 204.2 innings. On the final day of the 1949 season, the Dodgers were just one game ahead of St. Louis. The Dodgers were playing the Phillies and held a 7-6 lead when Banta entered the game with two outs in the sixth inning. He gave up a game-tying single, but then allowed just one more hit over the remainder of the game and the Dodgers won it 9-7 in the 10th inning. He pitched 5.2 innings in three games against the Yankees in the 1949 World Series which the Dodgers lost, recording a 3.18 ERA. Banta was 10-6 in 1949, but hurt his shoulder and then slipped 4-4 in 1950, his last season in the major leagues.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

Rocky Nelson , who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952 and 1956, died on Oct. 31, 2006 in Portsmouth, Ohio. He was 81. He hit .222 over 135 games with 4 home runs and 18 runs batted in. He as at bat when Jackie Robinson stole home in the first game of the 1956 World Series against the Yankees. He was a three-time MVP of the International League (1953, 1955, and 1958). Nelson hit .249 in his career with 31 home runs and 173 RBI. He made his major league debut in 1949 with the St. Louis Cardinals (1949-1951), and played with the Pirates (1951), White Sox (1951), Dodgers (1952 and 1956), Cleveland (1954), Cardinals (1956) and the Pirates (1959-1961).

And here's a hand, my trusty friend
And gie's a hand o' thine

Pete Mikkelsen , who pitched for the Dodgers 1969-72, recording a 24-17 record with 20 saves in 155 games. He died on Nov. 29, 2006 in Mabton, Wash. He was 67. Mikkelsen pitched for nine seasons in the major leagues, posting a 45-40 record with 49 saves in 364 games. He finished with a 3.38 ERA and 436 strikeouts in 653.1 innings pitched. In 1968 he was traded by the Cardinals to the Dodgers for Jim Ellis. His career included stops with the Yankees (1964-1965), Pittsburgh (1966-1967), Chicago NL (1967-1968), St. Louis (1968) and Los Angeles NL (1969-1972).

We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

Larry Sherry became the first World Series hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959 when he earned MVP honors for his efforts out of the bullpen as a rookie reliever. In that series he won two games and saved two as the Dodgers beat Chicago. He died December 17 at the age of 71 in Los Angeles. In 12.2 innings against the White Sox, Sherry allowed one earned run (0.71 ERA) on eight hits, walked two and struck out five. Sherry played parts of six seasons (1958-63) with the Dodgers, recording a 34-25, 3.48 record with 39 saves in 232 games. He spent the next four seasons with the Detroit Tigers, one with the Houston Astros and finished his career with the Angels in 1968. He had a career 3.67 ERA. After retirement, Sherry worked as coach and minor-league manager in several organizations until 1980.

Requiescat in Pace.