Lou Brock. Whitey Ford. Bob Gibson. Al Kaline. Joe Morgan. Phil Niekro. Tom Seaver.
If you're a baseball fan, those are names you will always remember. They were some of the sport's biggest stars of the 1960s-70s. My generation grew up watching these baseball heroes. Even if they didn't play for your team, you admired their immense talent and skill.
When I think of those seven stars, pictures run through my head of some of the memorable moments from their careers.
Brock stealing bases. Ford and Gibson pitching in multiple World Series. Kaline playing shortstop for the first time in the '68 World Series after a career in right field. Morgan winning MVPs for Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. Niekro and Seaver winning their 300th game.
All seven are baseball Hall of Fame legends. All seven of them died in 2020.
It was a bad year for the baseball players of my youth. Besides the above group, we also lost Dick Allen, Glenn Beckert, Tony Fernandez, Lou Johnson, Jay Johnstone, Don Larson, Lindy McDaniel, Ron Perranoski, Tony Taylor, Bob Watson and Jimmy Wynn.
That's quite a list of deaths for one year. There's also quite a list of memories for them.
How do you forget Allen's two inside the park home runs in a single game while playing for the White Sox.
Beckert corraling the final ground ball to end Ken Holtzman's first no-hit game.
McDaniel picking off Willie Mays at second base in the 9th inning of a tie game, then striking out Willie McCovey and hitting a walk-off home run in a Cubs win over the Giants.
Don Larson pitching the only World Series perfect game.
As bad as 2020 was for baseball's legends, this year is off to an even worse start. At three weeks into the new year, 2021 has claimed Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton and Henry Aaron. More sadness and more memories.
I can picture Lasorda jumping out of the dugout and running to home plate with his arms flailing to greet Kirk Gibson after his legendary World Series walk-off home run.
I caught a baseball at the game when Don Sutton won his 300th game with the Angels.
How can anyone forget the April night in 1974 when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run.
Some of the scenes I mentioned go back five or six decades. When the legends we grew up with die, a big piece of our childhood is gone. Baseball is a game of memories. Even though the athletes we idolized when we were young have passed, the memories from our youth remain.
Related Post: Memories of Mr. Cub
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.