While you are celebrating the holidays in the coming days….take time out to remember those lost. Some of us lost people in our lives…others know people with loved ones gone. Here are a few sports personalities that have passed in 2004.
PAT TILLMAN [ex-Arizona Cardinals DB]. Killed in combat on April 22. He left the Cardinals for US Army’s Ranger Regiment. He became the first NFL player killed in combat since Bob Kalsu in 1970. He was 27.
KEN CAMINITI [former NL MVP]. Played for the Astros, Padres, Rangers and Braves. Won the 1996 NL MVP. Admitted he used steroids…and lit the fire to the current steroid hunt. He did of an apparent drug overdose. He was 41.
COTTON FITZSIMMONS [NBA executive, coach and TV guy]. He’s won 832 games in his career…and was one of the most colorful guys in the NBA. He died of lung cancer at the age of 72.
OTTO GRAHAM [quarterback] One of the most successful QB in history. He led the Cleveland Browns to the Championship Game in each of his 10 seasons…winning 7. He has a career record of 105-17-4 and he never missed a game. He died of a heart condition at the age of 82.
TUG MCGRAW [pitcher]. Known to the younger generation as Tim McGraw’s dad. He was a pitcher on the 1969 Mets World Series champ team and the 1980 Phillies championship team. His strikeout of Willie Wilson clinched that 1980 title. He died of brain cancer. He was 59.
RALPH WILEY [author]. One of my favorite sportswriters. Always elegant…always thought provoking. He recently wrote for Sports Illustrated and worked on ESPN. He died of heart failure at the age of 52.
RAY BOONE [former major leaguer] Played for the Indians, Tigers, White Sox, A’s, Braves and Red Sox in his career. Father of Bob Boone and grandfather of Aaron and Brett Boone. He was 81.
BOB MURPHY [announcer]. Hall Of Famer broadcasted Mets games since the team’s birth in 1962. Died of lung cancer at the age of 79 a year after his retirement.
BRUCE EDWARDS [caddy]. Not just any caddy…he was Tom Watson’s caddy for 30 years. He suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, yet continued to caddy for Watson. In the 2003 US Open, Watson shot a 65 which brought one of the tear-jerking moments in sports. Edwards passed of ALS. He was 49.
JOHNNY KELLEY [runner]. Ran the Boston Marathon 61 times!!! He won it twice and had 7 second place finishes. He ran his final Boston Marathon in 1992 at the age of 84. He passed of natural causes. He was 97.
MARGE SCHOTT [owner]. Owner of the Reds from 1984-1999. She was the owner for Pete Rose’s 4192 hit, the 1990 World Series Championship and the team was pretty much competitive every year of Schott’s reign. Of course, her insensitive remarks got her suspended and her eccentric ways often got her in trouble in the “old boys network”. She was 75.
RUDY LARUSSO [Laker]. Five time All Star who helped lead the Lakers to the Finals three times [all losses to the Celtics]. He averaged 15.6 pts and 9.4 rbs for his career. He died at the age of 66 to Parkinson’s disease.
YINKA DARE [NBA Bust]. Dare was the Nets first round pick in 1994. Played just 4 seasons and recorded just 4 assists. He died of a heart condition on January 9. He was 32.
MARCO PANTANI [cyclist]. The last guy to win the Tour De France not named Lance Armstrong. He died of a cocaine overdose. He was 34.
DAVID RICKMAN [boxer]. He was knocked out in a March 27 fight in Savannah, GA. He had been a fighter for less than a year and was supposed to earn a mere $800 for the fight. He died two days after the fight, in which he was knocked unconscious in the ring. He was 29.
RICHARD JONES [Canisius hoops player] Collapsed and died during a workout with his team. He was 21.
DERNELL STENSON [outfielder]. Reds prospect was found murdered in Chandler, AZ where he was playing in the Arizona Fall League. He was shot and ran over in a carjacking. He was 25.
JOE GOLD [bodybuilder]. Founder of Gold’s Gym. He died at the age of 82.