Category Archives: Obituary

Hugh Hefner Will Be Remembered – New York Times Hatchet Writers Will Be Forgotten

There Goes The New York Times Again

Attacking The Late Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner and playboy bunnies

Hugh Hefner is dead. Yet it took less than 48 hours for the New York Times to besmirch and defile the Playboy Magazine founder’s life.

In an article entitled “Let’s Talk About Hugh Hefner and His Political Legacy” the writers have come not to praise Hefner nor bury him but to throw dirt upon his memory.

Jennifer Schuessler along with New York Times culture writers Taffy Brodhesser-Akner, Amanda Hess and Wesley Morris wine and complain in their attempt to put a political spin on Hugh Hefner’s perceived faux pas and dismantle his social and cultural legacy.

The roundtable hatchet job on Mr. Hefner is the latest Times lunacy of spewing the paper’s vitriolic equalizing agenda into the record and rewriting history. The angry tone at this great man and his achievements are misplaced.

No one is saying Hugh Hefner was Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or even Walt Disney. But Hugh Hefner was one of the most important progenitors of societal and political change in the 20th century. Hefner’s questioning of social mores and values made the world a better place. Hefner stood up to politicians, holy rollers and those who condemned everything sexual. Hugh Hefner was a hedonist, but he was an intellectual hedonist. If you doubt that, read the series of editorials Hefner wrote in the early 1960s entitled The Playboy Philosophy.

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Gene Michael Architect Of Late 90s Yankees Dynasty Dies at 79

Gene “Stick” Michael Was More Responsible For The Yankee Championship Teams In The Late 90s Than Anyone Else

Gene Michael awaits the throw to second base as Chicago White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio makes his slide (1970).

Former Yankees shortstop, manager and general manager Gene Michael died today September 7, 2017 at the age of 79 of a heart attack at his home in Oldsmar, FL.

Michael was a slick fielding light hitting shortstop who played on Yankees teams from 1968 – 1974, that were a shadow of the former Yankee teams.  From 1921 -1964 the Yankees had appeared in 29 World Series, winning 20 of them.

If The New York Yankees futility of the late 1960s and early 1970s was epitomized by their second baseman Horace Clarke, then Gene Michael would unfairly be attached to that failure with his double play partner.  Horace Clarke, was a career .256 hitter and average fielder who hit a total of 27 home runs with the Yankees from 1965 – 1974. Because Clarke’s career coincided with that of Michael’s the two were paired together unfairly as the face of Yankee ineptitude.

But there was never any question that Gene Michael was a decent ballplayer and a great competitor.

The “Stick,” as the six foot two skinny shortstop was nicknamed, had baseball smarts and could execute the plays a lot better than an average player. That is what kept Michael on the team. A .229 lifetime average usually won’t ensure your spot on a major league roster unless you can hit thirty or more home runs a year. Yet Michael was valued by teammates and some fans as a hard-nosed, crafty ballplayer.

One thing that Michael did that you rarely see anymore was pull the “hidden ball trick.”Michael said he would only pull it if his pitcher was in trouble.

Michael would have the ball in his glove as the pitcher would be getting ready to pitch and Michael would sneak up on an unsuspecting runner as he began to take a lead off second base and apply the tag. It’s called a bush league play today. Completely unprofessional. I disagree. It showed smarts and initiative to pull it off and I question why it is not tried more often today. I once witnessed Michael do this in person and didn’t realize what had happened.

Michael was smart in other ways. In a May 25, 1973 game against the Texas Rangers Continue reading

Ralph Branca’s Least Favorite Record

Ralph Branca Probably Never Played This LP Record

Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers hurler who gave up the 1951 home run known as the “Shot Heard Round The World” died at the age of 90 on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Rye Brook, NY.

After giving up the home run, Branca was unjustly made a poster boy for failure. A three time All-Star, Branca was a very good pitcher and had won 75 games by the age of 25. An injury in 1953 cut short his promising career.

giants-win-pennant-lp-front-cover

The Giants Win The Pennant! 1952 Chesterfield cigarettes limited edition LP record

The home run that Bobby Thomson of the Giants hit off Branca to win the third and deciding playoff game, was very likely a pitch that Thomson knew was coming.

The Giants had been stealing signs from opposing teams catchers and relaying them to their hitters with a telescope and a buzzer system at home games at the Polo Grounds during the season. It was confirmed years later that the Giants had tipped batters during the playoff game as well. Thomson though never admitted to having been tipped to what the pitch would be that won the game.

When Thomson hit his home run, Giants announcer Russ Hodges Continue reading

Muhammad Ali Dies

Muhammad Ali – 1942- 2016 – A Short Remembrance in Photos

Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) in 1963 photo: Marvin Newman

Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) in 1963 photo: Marvin Newman

Muhammad Ali died Friday, June 3, 2016 at the age of 74.

To an entire generation he was “The Greatest.”

Was he the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time? Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano might disagree. Continue reading

Prince’s Cause of Death Revealed

Prince’s Death, No Surprise To Vet

A Look Back At Prince and His Career

Prince the famous pit bull, was just a little over the age of eight (57 in dog years) when he died suddenly last week, shocking the entertainment world. His longtime veterinarian, Dr. Hugo Z. Clydell in a news conference said today that he was “not surprised by Prince’s death” and revealed the likely cause of his demise.

“Although Prince seemed to be in good health,” Dr. Clydell stated, “he had been secretly battling the mange for quite a while. Prince was also suffering from distemper, so it was just a matter of time before he died of natural causes or had to be put down.”

Prince in one of his famous costumes

Prince in one of his famous costumes

The intensively private pooch also had some bad habits which few on the outside knew about. Dr Clydell told reporters that for the past few years Prince had been drinking out of the toilet bowl.

“It was something he was ashamed of, but couldn’t stop,” said Dr. Clydell. Frequently after drinking from the toilet, Prince would chew on a shoe and then pee on the rug.

“Prince tried all sorts of therapy to stop this behavior,” Dr Clydell added, “but it never worked. It was only after the fact that he realized that he may have been doing something wrong. He was then made clear of his transgressions when he was hit on the snout with a rolled up newspaper and yelled at by humans, ‘Bad dog! Bad dog!'”‘

Some of Prince’s playmates were also aware of his maladies, weaknesses and recent changes in behavior.

Snoopy, a beagle owned by C.M. Schulz of St. Paul, MN knew that Prince was not himself when they met last week at Perkins Hill Park. When Snoopy greeted Prince in his usual fashion, Prince did not reciprocate and sniff longtime pal Snoopy’s testicles. “Something is wrong,” thought Snoopy who retreated to lay on the top of his doghouse.

Below: video of Prince playing and singing at home.

A Career In Retrospect
Prince gained prominence as a precocious puppy by finishing second in the Westbrook, MN dog show in 2008. After the show, Prince was signed to a long term contract by Weaning Bros. Records, a deal Prince later regretted and growled about as his fame grew. Prince put out numerous albums and appeared in dozens of television commercials, music videos and a feature film over a seven year span.

Prince’s first television commercial for Alps dog food, was a smashing success, spurring the catchy Alps theme song Let’s Go Gravy on to the Billboard semi-hot 100 music chart. Let’s Go Gravy remained on the charts for 41 weeks peaking at number four and made Prince a household name at least in his home state of Minnesota.

From there Prince went on to star as the dog who chased (always without success) a car with shiny hubcaps in a series of Chevrolet ads for the failed re-launch of the Corvair. The song to these commercials written and barked by Prince was also a top ten hit with its catchy lyrics:

“Hubcaps so shiny, / Car that can explode / Make you all miney / Chase you down the road / Little red corvair, / slow down, / you’re….wooof, much…. wooof…. too…. woooofff, ……fast.” Continue reading

The Death of Lemmy And Motorhead

Lemmy And Motörhead – Underpaid, Underappreciated & Undeniably Unique

Lemmy of Motörhead on stage at Vale Park 3/8/1981

Lemmy of Motorhead on stage at Vale Park 3/8/1981

Motörhead the most underappreciated band in the history of rock ‘n roll is dead.

That is the news confirmed by Motörhead’s drummer Mikkey Dee. “Motörhead is over, of course. Lemmy was Motörhead. We won’t be doing any more tours or anything. And there won’t be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone,” said Dee.

Motörhead founder, singer, songwriter and bassist, Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister died in Hollywood, CA last week, Monday December 28, 2015 at the age of 70 . The official cause was an extremely aggressive form of brain and neck cancer that Lemmy had just been diagnosed with two days before. After the diagnosis Lemmy was stoic and figured he would live out the two to six months the doctor gave him as best he could.

Monday the 28th, Lemmy was in his house playing on a video game console that was shipped over to his apartment from the nearby Rainbow Bar & Grill where Lemmy normally spent hours playing the game. As he played, Lemmy nodded off and never woke up. With Lemmy’s death also comes the death of a band that toiled for over 40 years with no mainstream commercial success.

After a hellbent, hard-living life of extremes it’s amazing that Lemmy lived to be 70. On the other hand it’s hard to believe he is now gone. I really thought Lemmy would would not die, at least not in my lifetime. If anyone ever epitomized the lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll it was Lemmy.

Lemmy chain smoked, drank Jack Daniels like others drink water and probably took more speed than anyone else who ever lived. Yet through all the “bad” things Lemmy did to himself, he appeared indestructible, remained lucid in conversation and driven to perform until the very end. Lemmy had been battling various illnesses over the last two years and most recently was extremely depressed over the death of best mate, former Motörhead drummer Phil “Phlthy Animal” Taylor on November 11, 2015.

On December 11 in Berlin, Germany, Motörhead completed the second part of its  2015-16 world tour. The band then took a holiday break intending to return to Europe to continue the tour. A little over two weeks later Lemmy was dead.

In the days following Lemmy’s death other musical legends such as Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford and Gene Simmons have praised the founder and frontman of Motörhead. From all walks of life, everyone who encountered Lemmy said the same thing – he was a really good guy, not an asshole. For most rock stars with their inflated egos, being an asshole is an easy attitude to take on.

In Lemmy’s highly readable autobiography Whiteline Fever (Citadel, 2004), he said, “Fuck this ‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’ shit! People don’t become better when they’re dead; you just talk about them as if they are. But it’s not true! People are still assholes, they’re just dead assholes!”

No one will speak ill of Lemmy. Continue reading

Yogi Berra Remembered In Photos

Yogi Berra Dies At 90 – A Remembrance In Rarely Seen Photos Of The Yankee Great

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series - photo Marvin E. Newman

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series – photo Marvin E. Newman

Lawrence Peter “Yog”i Berra died Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, New Jersey where he had been living in an assisted-living facility.

While countless obituaries will appear over the next few days recounting Berra’s storied baseball career, business acumen and quotable life, we thought it best not to dwell on Berra’s passing or try and tell all about his amazing life in just a few paragraphs. Yogi’s life story will be be well covered by his former teammates, friends, journalists and colleagues.

We will tell you that Yogi was not a great catcher when he first arrived in the majors. Yogi worked hard with former Yankee catcher Bill Dickey to make himself into a great defensive catcher. Also three American League MVP awards tell you that Yogi was extremely valuable to the Yankees. What those awards will not tell you was that Yogi was one of the best bad ball hitters ever – whether the ball was up by his eyes or literally in the dirt – Yogi could do massive damage on a pitch that most batters would not be able to do anything with.

We decided the best way to remember this Hall of Famer was with some old press photos that appeared long ago in magazines and newspapers and mostly have not been seen since.

Spec Shea Yogi Berra 1947 first start in World SeriesFrank “Spec” Shea and Yogi Berra before game 1 of the 1947 World Series at Yankee Stadium. 1947 marked the first of a record 10 world championships for Berra.

Berra Rizzuto 5 15 50 photo AcmeYogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto enjoy playing cards on a Yankees charter flight from New York to St. Louis, May 15, 1950 – photo Acme

clockwise - Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field - October 6, 1952

Clockwise – Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field – October 6, 1952. Berra homered in the seventh inning, Mantle homered in the eighth, Raschi got the victory and Reynolds the save.

Yogi Berra Batting sequence 1955 9 6September 6, 1955 – Yogi’s Off And Running – Yogi Berra the New York Yankees formidable catcher, shows the wrist action that provides the power that makes him one of the club’s long ball hitters. Berra currently hitting .273 has pounded out 23 homers and driven in 94 runs. He has hit 18 doubles and two triples. – AP wirephoto  Continue reading

Nicholas Winton Dies At 106, Saved Hundreds From The Holocaust

The Extraordinary Life Of Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton at 105 photo David Levene for The Guardian

Nicholas Winton at 105 photo David Levene for The Guardian

Nicholas Winton who saved hundreds of children from the Holocaust and didn’t tell anyone about it for over 50 years died Wednesday, July 1 in Maidenhead, England at the age of 106.

With all the chaos and hatred that permeates today’s news, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are real humanitarians in this world who have accomplished extraordinary things. Nicholas Winton was one of those truly good people who remind us that good deeds can come out of bad events.

How Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II is an amazing story told on the BBC 27 years ago and in America in 2014 on 60 Minutes.

Here is a portrait of humanity at its best with 60 Minutes telling Winton’s story.

Minnie Minoso Remembered

Minnie Minoso – Speed, Power and Grace

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag,  The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso scores on a short pop fly hit by Nellie Fox. Kansas City Athletics catcher Haywood Sullivan tries to apply the tag, The White Sox won this first game of a doubleheader 5-3. (Sept 20, 1961) photo: UPI

Months after the Chicago White Sox acquired Orestes “Minnie” Minoso in a three team trade from the Cleveland Indians in 1951, White Sox manager Paul Richards said, “Technically the deal helped everyone.

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Actually we got the best of it. I wouldn’t trade Minoso for anyone in the league.”

Minnie Minoso and Castro 1958Minoso was a star in Cuba before coming over to the United States and he never forgot his Cuban roots.

Minoso was signed by Indians owner Bill Veeck after being alerted to his ability by Abe Saperstein, the Harlem Globetrotters impresario, who was always on the lookout for black baseball talent. Minoso had been with the Indians since 1949 but had only gotten into nine games in two years. By 1950 Veeck was out as Indians owner, forced to sell the team to fund his divorce. The new owners considered Minoso expendable. That decision possibly cost the Indians several pennants throughout the 1950’s.

In his rookie season in 1951 Minoso batted .326 and led the league in stolen bases with 31 and triples with 14. In his career Minoso batted over .300 in eight seasons and had one unusual statistic – he led the league in being hit by pitches ten times. Minoso ran the bases with abandon and fielded as gracefully as any player in baseball.

When he retired in 1964 Minnie Minoso’s career average was .298 and he had hit 186 home runs while driving in 1023 runs.

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Bill Skowron, Minnie Minoso Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle July 24 1957 photo: AP

Minoso died Sunday, March 1, 2015 at a gas station in Chicago after suffering a tear in his pulmonary artery, at the age of either 90 or 92. There had always been some doubt to the Cuban star’s actual age.

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Hockey Legend Jean Beliveau Dies At 83

Jean Beliveau – The Epitome Of Grace And Power

Jean Beliveau puts his arms around teammates Ken Dryden and Frank Mahovlich following their victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the 1971 Stanley Cup Finals on May 16, 1971, at the Montreal Forum. photo: B Bennett / Toronto Star

Jean Beliveau, who won 10 Stanley Cup championships playing for the Montreal Canadiens from 1951-1971 died Tuesday, December 2, 2014 in Longueuil, Quebec at the age of 83.

Beliveau was among the smoothest and fastest skaters I have ever seen. His hockey skills were extraordinary in every way. He dominated the game like only a handful of players have ever done. He had a wrist shot that was keenly accurate and was among the best play-makers to ever lace up a pair of skates in the NHL.

Jean Beliveau (No. 4) scores a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs October 15 , 1959. Goalie is Johnny Bower. Canadiens won the game 4-2 - photo: UPI

Jean Beliveau (No. 4) scores a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs October 15 , 1959. Goalie is Johnny Bower. Canadiens won the game 4-2 – photo: UPI

Beliveau amassed 507 goals and 712 assists in 1125 games. In 162 career playoff games he tallied 176 points. A two-time Hart Trophy (league MVP) winner, he was the captain of the Montreal  Canadiens for the final ten seasons of his career.

Besides his greatness as a player, what people will remember about Jean Beliveau was that he was a modest gentleman, both on and off the ice.

Teammates, opposing players, coaches and fans respected and admired Jean Beliveau. He carried himself with class, the way few athletes do nowadays.

Adieu, Jean Believeau.