Jun 2014 Issue

In Memoriam

The following Major League players passed away recently. A summarized bio and a link to their career stats are provided. For some players, a link to a more detailed biography from SABR is also provided.

Mel Clark
Died: 05/01/2014
Age: 87

Melvin Earl Clark was signed as an outfielder by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947. Clark played with the Phillies from 1951 to 1955 and with the Detroit Tigers in 1957. He had 182 hits in 656 at bats with 3 home runs. Clark batted and threw right-handed.

Career Statistics
SABR Biography
Billy Harrell
Died: 05/06/2014
Age: 85

William Harrell was signed by Cleveland in 1952 out of the Siena College. He played as a reserve infielder for the Cleveland Indians ()1955, 1957-1958) and Boston Red Sox (1961). In a four-season career, Harrell was a .231 hitter (79-for-342) with eight home runs and 26 RBI in 173 games, including 54 runs, seven doubles, one triple, and 17 stolen bases. In 151 games as an infielder, he appeared at shortstop, third base, second and first, and also played right field in one game, posting a collective fielding percentage of .952.

Career Statistics
Dick Welteroth
Died: 05/07/14
Age: 86

Richard John Welteroth was a right-handed relief pitcher who played from 1948 to 1950 for the Washington Senators. He made his big league debut on May 16, 1948 at the age of 20. That season, he appeared in 33 games with the Senators, going 2-1 with a 5.51 ERA. He went 2-5 with a 7.36 ERA in 1949 and finished second in the league in appearances that season and finished third in the league in games finished with 25. He made only five appearances with the Senators in 1950, going 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Overall, Welteroth went 4-6 with a 6.48 ERA in 90 games (four starts) over three big league seasons. He is one of only two pitchers in big league baseball history to walk at least 145 batters and strikeout 55 or less batters in his career (the other being George Turbeville).

Career Statistics
Leo Marentette
Died: 05/08/14
Age: 73

Leo John Marentette, Jr. was a relief pitcher in the for the Detroit Tigers (1965) and the Montreal Expos (1969). In a two-season career, Marentette posted a 6.75 ERA in five pitching appearances, giving up four runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out one in 8 1/3 innings of work. He did not have a decision or save. He pitched three scoreless innings for the Tigers in September 1965. Then, in 1969, Marentette was recalled from Triple-A to pitch for the Expos during the expansion team's maiden season. He appeared in three games during the Expos' June California road trip, one against each of the three teams based there. He left baseball after the 1970 season.

Career Statistics
Guy Morton
Died: 05/11/14
Age: 83

Guy Morton, Jr. played in just one game in the Major Leagues. He struck out in his only major league at-bat with the Boston Red Sox in 1954. Morton was the son of the former pitcher Guy Morton, Sr. Morton had a long career in the minor leagues, mostly as a catcher, and in 1954 was the MVP of the Carolina League Greensboro Patriots. After retiring from baseball, Morton became a Baptist minister. After retiring from that career, he wrote a weekly sports column for a local newspaper in Vermilion, Ohio.

Career Statistics
Johnny Gray
Died: 05/21/14
Age: 87

John Leonard Gray was pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics/Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Phillies in all or part of four seasons spanning 1954-1958. Gray was originally signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1950. He spent four years in their minor league system before being traded to the Athletics in December 1953. Interestingly, Gray was of few players to be part of the Athletics in their final season in Philadelphia and their first season in Kansas City. He posted a 3-15 record and a 7.25 ERA in his two stints for the team before joining the Indians in 1957 and the Phillies in 1958. His career highlight came in 1957, when he hurled a three-hit shutout against the Baltimore Orioles at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Gray would spend 11 seasons in the minors while playing for 13 clubs between 1950 and 1960. He had five seasons with at least 10 victories and the best ERA in the American Association at 2.72 during the 1956 season. Prior to playing baseball, he served for the US Army in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during World War II.

Career Statistics
Mike Gordon
Died: 05/26/14
Age: 60

Michael William Gordon was a catcher for the Chicago Cubs from 1977 to 1978. He made his major league debut on April 7, 1977. Over two seasons he played in 12 games and collected two hits in 28 at bats. He appeared in 745 minor league games withing the Cubs organization that spanned eight seasons.

Career Statistics
Roberto Vargas
Died: 05/27/14
Age: 84

Roberto Enrique Vargas Velez was a pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves of the National League during the 1955 season. Vargas was among the first ten Puerto Rican ball players to debut in the major leagues, making his first appearance for Milwaukee on April 17, 1955, the same day as Roberto Clemente with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made 25 relief appearances for the Braves during that season. He was sent back to the minors midway through the season. He would play for 11 teams in eight different leagues in a span of eight seasons from 1949-1960. Eventually, Vargas had a long career coaching and managing in the Puerto Rico winter league. Vargas also pitched for the Chicago American Giants and Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League in 1948.

Career Statistics
Jack Dittmer
Died: 05/31/14
Age: 86

John Douglas "Jack" Dittmer played six seasons in the majors as a second baseman for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves (1952 - 1956) and for the Detroit Tigers (1957). Over these six seasons he played in 395 games and belting 24 home runs and ended his career with a .232 batting average. Jack Dittmer also stared at the State University of Iowa in baseball, football and basketball. The former first-team All-Big Ten, co-captain, all-conference, Iowa MVP also set a Big Ten single-season record for receiving yards and was eventually elected to the Iowa Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978 and National Iowa Letterman's Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.

Career Statistics
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