The Cornfield

The Cornfield

A year-by-year listing of the 87 ballplayers from my SP78 Replay season who have passed away since 1978, and like the old-time players from the movie Field of Dreams, went into the cornfield once they’d made life’s final out.

2017
Lee May, designated hitter, Orioles (July 29)
Don Baylor, designated hitter, Angels (August 7)

2016
Lance Rautzhan, pitcher, Dodgers (January 9)
Paul Dade, outfielder, Indians (August 25)

2015
Charlie Williams, pitcher, Giants (January 27)
Dave Bergman, outfielder, Astros (February 2)
Gary Woods, outfielder, Blue Jays (February 19)
Andy Mora, outfielder, Orioles (June 12)
Joaquin Andujar, pitcher, Astros (September 8)
Garry Hancock, outfielder, Red Sox (October 10)
Kerry Dineen, outfielder, Phillies (November 21)

2014
Tim Hosley, catcher, A’s (January 21)
Jim Fregosi, third baseman, Pirates (February 14)
Mike Gordon, catcher, Cubs (May 26)
Bob Welch, pitcher, Dodgers (June 9)
Bobby Castillo, pitcher, Dodgers (June 30)
Tom Veryzer, shortstop, Indians (July 8)
Allen Ripley, pitcher, Red Sox (November 7)

2013
Enzo Hernandez, shortstop, Dodgers (January 13)
Rick Camp, pitcher, Braves (April 25)
George Scott, first baseman, Red Sox (July 28)
Ed Herrmann, catcher, Expos (December 22)
Paul Blair, outfielder, Yankees (December 26)

2012
Gary Carter, catcher, Expos (February 16)
Jim Obradovich, first baseman, Astros (March 3)
Andy Replogle, pitcher, Brewers (April 10)
Pedro Borbon, pitcher, Reds (June 4)
Bob Myrick, pitcher, Mets (August 23)
Champ Summers, outfielder, Reds (October 11)
Dave May, outfielder, Brewers (October 20)

2011
Woodie Fryman, pitcher, Expos (February 4)
Mitchell Page, outfielder, A’s (March 12)
Bobby Thompson, outfielder, Rangers (April 25)
Paul Splittorff, pitcher, Royals (May 25)
Mike Flanagan, pitcher, Orioles (August 24)
Jesse Jefferson, pitcher, Blue Jays (September 8)
Bob Forsch, pitcher, Cardinals (November 3)
Randy Stein, pitcher, Brewers (December 12)

2010
Jim Bibby, pitcher, Pirates (February 16)
Joe Gates, second baseman, White Sox (March 28)
Keith Drumright, second baseman, Astros (August 7)
Wayne Twitchell, pitcher, Phillies (September 16)
Tom Underwood, pitcher, Blue Jays (November 22)

2009
Dave Roberts, pitcher, Cubs  (January 9)
Ed Rodriguez, pitcher, Brewers (March 6)
Mark Fidrych, pitcher, Tigers (April 13)

2008
Steve Mingori, pitcher, Royals (July 10)
Bobby Murcer, outfielder, Cubs (July 12)
Dock Ellis, pitcher, Rangers (December 19)

2007
Vern Ruhle, pitcher, Astros (January 20)
Bill Robinson, outfielder, Pirates (July 29)

2006
Paul Lindblad, pitcher, Yankees (January 1)
Craig Kusick, outfielder, Twins (September 27)
Joe Niekro, pitcher, Astros (October 27)

2005
Nelson Briles, pitcher, Rangers (February 13)
Pat Kelly, outfielder, Orioles (October 2)
Elrod Hendricks, catcher, Orioles (December 21)

2004
Taylor Duncan, infielder, A’s (January 3)
Tug McGraw, pitcher, Phillies (January 5)
Victor Cruz, pitcher, Blue Jays (September 26)
Doug Ault, first baseman, Blue Jays (December 22)
Johnny Oates, catcher, Dodgers (December 24)

2003
Bob Kammeyer, pitcher, Yankees (January 27)
Bobby Bonds, outfielder, Rangers (August 23)
Ken Brett, pitcher, Angels (November 18)

2002
Jim Spencer, first baseman, Yankees (February 10)
Al Cowens, outfielder, Royals (March 11)
Darrell Porter, catcher, Royals (August 5)

2001
Willie Stargell, first baseman, Pirates (April 9)

2000
John Milner, outfielder, Pirates (January 4)
Aurelio Rodriguez, third baseman, Tigers (September 23)

1999
Catfish Hunter, pitcher, Yankees (September 9)

1998
Tom Buskey, pitcher,  Blue Jays (June 7)
Mark Belanger, shortstop, Orioles (October 6)

1997
None

1996
Roger Freed, first baseman, Cardinals (January 9)

1995
Glenn Burke, outfielder, A’s (May 30)

1994
None

1993
None

1992
Aurelio Lopez, pitcher, Cardinals (September 22)

1991
None

1990
Tony Solaita, designated hitter, Angels (February 10)
Larry Cox, catcher, Cubs (February 17)
Bo Diaz, catcher, Indians (November 23)

1989
Donnie Moore, pitcher, Cubs (July 18)

1988
None

1987
Nino Espinosa, pitcher, Mets (December 24)

1986
Eddie Solomon, pitcher, Braves (January 12)

1985
None

1984
Lynn McGlothen, pitcher, Cubs (August 14)

1983
None

1982
Francisco Barrios, pitcher, White Sox (April 9)

1981
None

1980
None

1979
Thurman Munson, catcher, Yankees (August 2)

1978
Lyman Bostock, outfielder, Angels (September 23)

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52 responses to “The Cornfield

  1. Have you considered what to do with Mr. Bostock when September 23 comes around? I think we’ve probably discussed it before but I’m old and I don’t ‘member so good anymore.

  2. Yes, I have considered, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever told you either, so I guess we’re both mentally classic. My plan was simple: if he played in the actual September 23rd game between the Angels and White Sox, I’d bench him in the SP78 game. If he didn’t play in real life, he’d start in SP78. After checking a few sources, I found out he did play on the 23rd, and was killed later that night. So, I’ll be benching him for that contest…just my own attempt at altering his future a bit. Kind of like when a bolt of lightning strikes a clock tower…

  3. ENID, Okla, Oct 11, 2012 — He got his nickname from his U.S. Naval prizefighting dad on the day he was born. “Dad took one look at me when I was born and said, ‘He looks like he just went 10 rounds with Joe Louis.’” From that day forward, John Junior Summers would forever be known simply as Champ. Summers, who died Thursday at the age of 66 following a 2½ year battle with kidney cancer, never became a superstar, but had his moments.

  4. Hey Steve, thanks for the update and the eulogy for Champ Summers. I hadn’t heard the news…just a few days ago I’d checked my source for baseball players who have passed away, but I guess Champ hadn’t made their list yet. I’ll always picture him as a young, square-jawed Reds player on a Topps card…it’s hard for me to believe that he was 66!

  5. Who could forget the sound of “Leading off . . . . for the Padres . . . .numberelevenEnzo HerNANdez” booming over the P.A.? Too sad.

  6. I will never forget that P.A. announcement…one of the many fun things I remember of ’70s Padres baseball from San Diego Stadium! I just wish my SP78 season had him playing for the Padres, and not the Dodgers. Perhaps if I engineered my first-ever SP78 trade…

    And yes, sad. They’re all starting to disappear from us, aren’t they?

  7. “The Man” and the “Little General” in the same day! You would think I’ve embarked on my mission to clear out the hall for future members, but I wouldn’t have cleared out either of these guys. A sad day for old time baseball.

  8. Okay, I know that ‘The Man’ is Stan Musial, and I didn’t know he’d passed away until now, and that is indeed sad…but the ‘Little General’ is a nickname for Johnny Bench, and you’ve just scared the shit out of me…I can’t find anything that says he died! Did you mean someone else? I found a ‘Little General’ in the NBA, but he’s still alive, too! Help, for chrissake!

  9. Good lord! It took me over a half hour, but I finally figured it out: Earl Weaver, ‘The Little Genius’, passed away today as well. Sad, yes, but as far as I know, Johnny Bench is still freaking alive! I’ll just head into the bathroom now, clean myself up, and put on a new pair of undershorts…

  10. OK – I screwed that up. You are correct, I meant the “little genius”. Sorry for the fire drill. Long live Johnny!

  11. Sadly, 2013 now has its second member of the cornfield, Braves’ pitcher Rick Camp.

    • It’s funny (but sad, of course) when I get an e-mail from you, and it’s a comment for ‘Into the Cornfield’…I instantly know that SP78 has lost another one. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the notification…but it’s like if you have a son in the war, and a government vehicle pulls up to the curb in front of your house: you know exactly what you’re about to find out.

      Goodbye, Mr. Camp. Currently 3-1 in SP78 Replay.

  12. Sadly add Mr. George Scott of the Boston Red Sox to the cornfield list as of July 28, 2013.

    • Goodbye, Boomer. Strangely enough, I’m working on a eulogy of sorts right now for the Jays-M’s recap I’m typing up, for Toronto first baseman Doug Ault, who had a great night at the plate in this past weekend’s game. Thanks for the update, Steve.

  13. Please add catcher Ed Herrmann of the Expos to the list. He passed away yesterday in Poway from prostate cancer.

    • I remember seeing Ed in Poway or RB years ago, and recognizing him from his baseball cards. This was sometime during his post-playing days. Sad to see him go. Heck, it’s sad to see ANY of them go.

  14. 2nd SP78er in a week, and one of my personal favorites. Very sad to add Mr. Paul Blair to the cornfield.

    • Very sad indeed. Currently he’s on the SP78 60-day disabled list, so it’ll be quite some time before I’m able to honor him with a start. No passings since July, and suddenly two in one week…what gives?

  15. Not a SP78 player, but announcer (and future manager) Jerry Coleman passed away yesterday. One of only 2 statues at Petco Park, along with Tony Gwynn.

    • Yeah, kinda sad…I listened to a lot of Padres games on KOGO and KFMB way back when, and Jerry was always there calling the action. And I seem to remember meeting him in our press box once during a game, but I think there might’ve been some activity on the field at the time, so my memory of that moment is a little hazy.

  16. See if this refreshes your memory . . . We were in the Padres’ sky box for a May game in 1989, and it was during the Pistons-Lakers NBA Finals, which were on the box TV while we were there during pre-game BP. He introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Jerry Coleman” which only seems odd because it was obvious who he was – otherwise, it’s how most people introduce themselves. He asked us to keep him posted on the score of the (NBA) game, but never told us how we should reach him. The other memory I have is of the cameraman in the booth next to me knocking on the window and pointing at the Jumbotron to show me that he had me on the screen, shoving chicken in my face. My shining moment, spent with a cheek full of free stadium chicken.

    • Oh trust me, my memory was already freshed for most of that whole scenario…but I don’t remember the part about Mr. Coleman asking about the NBA game, and wanting to be updated. Maybe we were supposed to walk over to the broadcast booth like we owned the place and interrupt his call with some hoops highlights. “Oh doctor, excuse me folks, those two cool guys I met over in T31 have some valuable info for me LONG DRIVE TO DEEP LEFT, DANIELS GOES BACK, BACK and the Pistons lead the Lakers by 17 at the half!”

  17. He only played in 13 games in ’78, and he has no April SP78 stats, but Tim Hosley of the A’s is the first SP78 passing of 2014.

    • Sad news about Mr. Hosley…I created a minor league card for him a few years back, so at some point this season he’ll get the call-up to the parent club and will see some action behind the plate. Avalon Hill showed that he played just six games at catcher in ’78, so maybe he pinch-hit in those other seven games.

  18. Jim Fregosi, whose last year was 1978, passed away on Friday morning. He was my favorite early-70’s Angel player, up until he was traded to the Mets for Nolan Ryan. I don’t remember him as a Pirate much, but that’s where he finished in the early months of 1978. He was managing the Angels by the end of the season, so he was traded for Ryan, then managed him in the same season, but it appears he’ll have quite the task if he tries to get the SP78 Angels to the playoffs by season’s end.

    • Thanks for the info…Jim Fregosi didn’t have a real Statis Pro card, but he has a homemade one, so he’s currently in the minor league system for the Pirates. I’ve always wanted to bring him up, so maybe I’ll get him ready for an August promotion. And all I remember about Fregosi were his Topps cards…I can picture the one from 1976, with a big blue sky behind him. I liked him as a manager for the Angels, too.

    • Back in the summer of 1979, when my friend Bob and I were driving with his parents somewhere in Rancho Bernardo, we heard on the radio that a major league catcher had died…no other information was offered beyond that. Bob’s favorite player was Carlton Fisk, and of course mine was Johnny Bench, so we were both stricken with fear that one of the two had passed away. It wasn’t until we watched the news that night on TV that we discovered the catcher in question was Yankees star Thurman Munson.

      I mention this because I get the same empty feeling now that I did then when I get a notice on the SP78 site that you’ve commented on the ‘Into the Cornfield’ page, telling me that a player from my SP78 season has taken a seat in the celestial dugout. And I don’t say this because I want you to stop telling me…it’s just a strange feeling to know that we’ve lost a player, and for a few moments I have no idea who it is: a star, a routine player, or perhaps a nobody who’s made it big in the SP78 season. And speaking of which, another one has passed that I think we both missed: Mike Gordon, a catcher who played four games for the Cubs in 1978, died on May 26th.

  19. I actually saw Mike Gordon and realized that he had been a bit player in ’77 and ’78; then I checked the stats page and he had not seen action in April – I guess I should have checked my June stat guide also. My apologies for not mentioning Mike Gordon – to the commissioner and to the Gordon family. I was unaware that he was in the SP78 game.

    • I appreciate the apology, but don’t sweat it! He’s a player with a created card, and has been with the Wichita Aeros all season, so there’s no way you could’ve known he was part of the SP78 universe. He almost got the call-up to the Cubs when Dave Rader was injured recently, but I chose to bring Tim Blackwell back instead. But I promise you Mike will see some action before the season is out.

  20. Dodger pitcher Bobby Castillo passed away yesterday in Los Angeles.

    • At the end of July in SP78, Castillo was 3-2 with two saves in 22 games pitched, all in relief, with an ERA of 3.04. I’ll see if I can get him into the August 1st game against the Padres.

  21. Indians infielder Tom Veryzer is the next SP78er gone too soon.

    • As always, I click to read your comment with trepidation, and this one saddened me. I know, they’re all supposed to, but some do more than others. I remember Veryzer not only from Topps cards from the ’70s, but from listening to Tigers and Indians games during my summer trips to Ohio to visit my grandparents. It seems like a long time ago.

  22. Not sure if he has joined the Bosox in SP78, but pitcher Allen Ripley has entered the cornfield.

    • Weird…I checked the Baseball Almanac RIP list yesterday. Yeah, Ripley’s on the Bosox right now, after being called up on July 4th. So far this season, Ripley is 1-1 with no saves and a 4.30 ERA. To honor him, I’ll start him August 3rd against the Yankees. Thanks for letting me know.

  23. OK, so maybe the Cornfield wasn’t intended for people who participated in exhibition games, but given that yesterday featured the ’62 Giants, I thought I’d mention that ’62 Giants hurler (and ’61 All Star Game winner) Stu Miller passed away.

    • I’ll always remember him as having that pained look on his face when he was featured on the ’84 All-Star Game ‘Croix de Candlestick’ button. Which I once owned, but don’t know if I still do. Goodbye, Stu.

  24. Giants’ reliever Charlie Williams has also gone in search of the corn.

  25. 2015’s crop has it’s second farmer, Astros utility player Dave Bergman, who passed away Monday.

  26. I see I missed Andy Mora, Mexican Hall of Famer, who recently passed from pnuemonia.

    • Sorry about that…I was going to mention it in the e-mail I sent to you this morning, but failed to do so. I think I was just excited that I beat you to a Cornfield discovery for once.

  27. Red Sox and Pawsox utility man Garry Hancock passed away on October 10.

    • Thanks…I’d checked Baseball Almanac at some point after October 10th, and he wasn’t listed on their ‘deaths in 2015’ page yet. And funny that I was ready to correct your spelling of ‘Garry’, since Avalon Hill had his player card printed as ‘Gary’ Hancock. Once again, Avalon Hill, I thank you for the foul-up.

  28. Indians OF Paul Dade, Aug 25, 2016 . . .RIP

    • That one took a while to hit the newsstands; I wonder how many others I’ve missed because they were posted three weeks after the fact. Dade was my starting left fielder for the Indians until he went out with an injury on July 6th, and was placed on the 45-day DL…he’s not set to return ’til August 21. It’s weird to think he’s been out since 2003…before I even moved to Arizona!

  29. Nobody passing on yet two months into 2017?

    • Nobody yet, which is not only a bit surprising these days, but also a good thing. There were only two in 2016, and the last was in August, so it’s nice to have a dry spell; let’s hope it continues.

  30. Rough week for the Cornfield, but please add MVP-candidate Don Baylor.

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