Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1935 in Mobile, Ala. and made his major league debut on April 13, 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves. Aaron started his playing career in the Negro Leagues, earning $200 a month with the Indianapolis Clowns. After signing a contract with the Boston Braves in 1952, Aaron was assigned to Boston’s Class C farm club, where he led the league in runs, hits, doubles RBI and batting average, becoming the league’s Most Valuable Player. While playing winter ball in Puerto Rico in 1954, Aaron was notified that he was being sent to his first spring training to start left field with the Braves, after an injury to the Braves original left fielder. He hit a home run in his start. His big league career took off that year, and he continued for the next 23 years. His many accolades include a 1957 World Series title with the Braves, 25 All-Star appearances, three Gold Glove Awards, 1957 NL MVP Award, and an induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1982 – just to name a few. Aaron is known for his very successful career, but is best known for breaking and surpassing Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714. Aaron ended his career with 755 total home runs. Just four days after his retirement, Aaron became a player development director for the Braves. Aaron has broken down racial barriers his entire career and was one of the first African-Americans in MLB upper-level management. In 1999, MLB announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award, an award to be presented each year to the best hitters in the National League and the American League. His jersey number 44 has been retired by both the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. Aaron passed away at age 86, on January 22, 2021.
Tom Acker was born on March 7, 1930 in Paterson, N.J. and made his major league debut on April 20, 1956 with the Cincinnati Redlegs. Before his major league service, Acker served in the United States Military in 1952. Acker pitched four years in the big leagues, spending all four years with the Redlegs/Reds. He appeared in total of 153 games with Cincinnati. Acker passed away on January 4, 2021 in Narvon, Pa.
Hy Cohen was born on January 29, 1931 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and made his major league debut on April 17, 1955 with the Chicago Cubs. Cohen spent one season in the majors with the Chicago Cubs. After his playing days, Cohen earned a master’s degree in education from Cal State Northridge, then became a teacher and baseball coach at Birmingham High School. Cohen was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. He passed away on February 4, 2021 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Billy Conigliaro was born on August 15, 1947 in Revere, Mass. and made his major league debut on April 11, 1969 with the Boston Red Sox. Conigliaro played five years in the big leagues, spending his time with the Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland Athletics. His one year with the Athletics ended his big-league career out strong, as a 1973 World Series champion. His career came to an end after having two knee surgeries following the 1973 season. After his playing days, he became an amateur astronomer. Conigliaro passed away on February 10, 2021 in Beverly, Mass.
Paul Foytack was born on November 16, 1930 in Scranton, Pa. and made his major league debut on April 21, 1953 with the Detroit Tigers. Foytack played 11 years in the big leagues, spending 10 of those years with the Tigers, the other two with the Los Angeles Angels. After his playing days, Foytack working in sales for an industrial rubber plastics company in Keego Harbor, Michigan. He passed away on January 23, 2021.
Pedro González was born on December 12, 1937 in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic, and made his major league debut on April 11, 1963 with the New York Yankees. González played five years in the big leagues, splitting his time with the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. Known as one of the earliest big leaguers to come out of San Pedro de Macoris, González appeared in the 1964 World Series with the New York Yankees, where he was mostly seen at first base. González passed away on January 10, 2021 in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris, due to lung disease.
Grant Jackson was born on September 28, 1942 in Fostoria, Ohio and made his major league debut on September3, 1965 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Jackson played 18 years in the big leagues, playing for the Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Montreal Expos and the New York Yankees. He ended his career as a 1969 NL All-Star and a World Series Title with the Pirates in 1979. After his playing career, Jackson entered the coaching arena, first for the Pirates from 1983 – 1985, where he was the first African American pitching coach for the team. Jackson passed away on February 2, 2021 in Canonsburg, Pa.
Ron Johnson was born on March 23, 1956 in Long Beach, Calif. and made his major league debut on September 12, 1982 with the Kansas City Royals. Johnson played three years in the majors, splitting his time with the Royals and the Montreal Expos. After his playing career, Johnson stuck close to the game, beginning his coaching career. He started as a minor league coach in the Royals organization from 1986 through 1991. He then continued in the Royals organization all through 1999. He was named the Texas League Manager of the Year in 1995. He joined the Boston Red Sox organization in 2000, managing in the minor leagues for ten seasons, before being promoted to the majors as the Red Sox’s first base coach. He remained a coach with the Red Sox for two years, before joining the Baltimore Orioles organization in 2012. Johnson passed away from COVID-19 on January 26, 2021.
Lew Krausse was born on April 25, 1943 in Media, Pa. and made his major league debut on June 16, 1961 with the Kansas City Athletics. Krausse pitched 12 years in the big leagues, playing for the Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals. Krausse is known for ceremonial pitches after starting in the first home game in Athletics history in 1968. He also was the starting pitcher for the Brewers first-ever game in 1970. Krausse passed away at age 77 from cancer on February 16, 2021.
Tommy Lasorda was born on September 22, 1927 in Norristown, Pa. and made his major league debut on August 5, 1954 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Lasorda pitched three seasons in the big leagues, which was only the start to his Hall of Fame career. After his playing days, Lasorda continued in the Dodgers organization becoming a Dodger scout in 1961, then a manager in the minors in 1965. In 1973, the Dodgers promoted Lasorda to coach. He then led the Dodgers as manager for 21 years, managing the team to two World Series title, eight division titles and four National League pennants. He also managed the United States in the 2000 Sydney Olympics to their first-ever gold medal in baseball, making him the only manager in baseball history to win a World Series and an Olympic gold medal. Lasorda was also a two-time National League Manager of the Year, earning an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1997. Along with his many accolades, Lasorda was the Branch Rickey Award 2006 recipient, an award given to the major league personality who best demonstrates exemplary community service. Lasorda was a major factor in Dodgers history. He passed away on January 7, 2021 in Fullerton, Calif.
Don Leppert was born on November 20, 1930 in Memphis, Tenn. and made his major league debut on April 11, 1955 with the Baltimore Orioles. After five seasons in the minors, Leppert spent the 1955 season in the big leagues with the Orioles. Beyond his playing days, he worked for the Chattanooga Bakery Company in Memphis. Leppert passed away on January 5, 2021.
Ángel Mangual was born on March 19, 1947 in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico and made his major league debut on September 15, 1969 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mangual, nicknamed Cuqui, played seven years in the big leagues, three of those seasons ending in World Series wins with the Athletics (1972,1973,1974). In Game 4 of the ’72 World Series, Mangual hit a pinch single in the 9th inning to win the game for the A’s. Mangual passed away on February 16, 2021 in Puerto Rico.
Stan Palys was born on May 1, 1930 in Blakely, Pa. and made his major league debut on September 20, 1953 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Palys played four years in the big leagues, splitting his time between the Phillies and the Cincinnati Redlegs. Before his career in the majors, Palys missed the 1951 season due to military service. Palys retired after the 1967 season, taking his talents back to school to earn a business degree from the University of Scranton. After graduation he worked for mentally disabled children, Palys passed away on February 8, 2021 in Jupiter, Fla.
Juan Pizarro was born on February 7, 1937 in Santurce, Puerto Rico and made his major league debut on May 4, 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves. Pizarro played a solid 18 years in the majors, winning a World Series his rookie season with the Braves, and earning two American League All-Star appearances during his time with the Chicago White Sox. His big-league career ended with over 400 game wins. Pizarro passed away on February 18, 2021 after a long-fought battle with cancer.
Mike Sadek was born on May 30, 1946 in Minneapolis, Minn. and made his major league debut on April 13, 1973 with the San Francisco Giants. Sadek played eight seasons in the big leagues, all spent with the Giants. After his playing days, Sadek remained with the Giants, working as a Community Representative from 1983-1990, and Assistant to the Director of Community Services in 1991. Sadek passed away on January 20, 2021 in San Andreas, Calif.
Ron Samford was born on February 28, 1930 in Dallas, Texas and made his major league debut on April 15, 1954 with the New York Giants. Samford played four years in the majors, splitting his time with the Giants, Detroit Tigers, and the Washington Senators. Samford finished his 158-game playing career with five home runs and 27 RBI. Samford passed away on January 14, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.
Dick Smith was born on July 21, 1926 in Blandburg, Pa. and made his major league debut on September 14, 1951 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Smith played five years in the big leagues, all five spent with the Pirates. Before his professional baseball career, Smith served in the Army in World War II. After his playing days, Smith received his master’s degree from Penn State University, then worked for the university for the next 25 years. Smith passed away on January 25, 2021 in Boalsburg, Pa.
Don Sutton was born on April 2, 1945 in Clio, Ala. and made his major league debut on April 14, 1966 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sutton played a successful 23 years in the majors, splitting his time between five teams, but is best known for his stint with the Dodgers. Sutton’s accolades include four NL All-Star appearances, 1977 All-Star Game MVP Award, 1980 NL ERA Leader, and an induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1998. Looking back on his pitching career, he won 324 games, struck out 3,574 batters, and pitched in four World Series. After retiring, Sutton became a radio and television broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals. In 1998, the Dodgers retired his jersey number, 20. He was also inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2015 as a broadcaster. After a long battle with cancer, Sutton passed away in his home on January 19, 2021 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Wayne Terwilliger was born on June 27, 1925 in Clare, Mich. and made his major league debut on August 6, 1949 with the Chicago Cubs. Terwilliger spent nine years in the big leagues, playing for the Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, Washington Senators, New York Giants and the Kansas City Athletics. In 1951, Terwilliger backed up second baseman, Jackie Robinson partway through the season. After his playing days, Terwilliger became a coach for several teams, including the Senators and Texas Rangers under Ted Williams from 1969-1972. He won two World Series coaching for the Minnesota Twins. He then managed 12 minor league teams, winning a total of 1224 games. He also published an autobiography in 2006 named, Terwilliger Bunts One. Terwilliger passed away on February 3, 2021 in Weatherford, Texas.