Tag Archives: requiescat in pace

R.I.P. Dick Heller, long-time Wash. Times sports columnist

Dick Heller, longtime Washington Times sports columnist, dead at 76

A Northwest Washington native, Heller began working for newspapers when he was in high school, covering high school sports for The Washington Daily News. He also worked for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Alexandria Gazette before joining The Washington Star, where he covered University of Maryland athletics until the newspaper closed in 1981…

…Following a stint at The Miami Herald, Heller joined The Washington Times in 1986, and he became a columnist in the early 1990s. He remained with the newspaper until it folded its sports section in December 2009, then contributed bi-weekly columns for a time after the section returned in March 2011.

Heller covered the Washington Senators in the 1960s and was featured in a documentary or two about the D.C. baseball. My favorite columns of his were about the end of Griffith Stadium and his anti-Texas Rangers ones, though the alternative turned out to be a bit unpalatable as well.

I read and linked to many Heller columns over the years, some of which you can find here.

WHAT HIS COLLEAGUES ARE SAYING

WELP, NOBODY’S PERFECT

I will probably add to this post as more tributes and obituaries come in. There are some kind words for Heller on the Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group.

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R.I.P. Art Donovan

One of my favorite characters of the NFL, Art Donovan died Sunday at age 89. I have enjoyed Donovan’s storytelling since I can remember, mostly through NFL Films, but also his book “Fatso” which I used to own before lending it to someone who didn’t give it back. I later learned he had been a regular on David Letterman’s shows which got him the book deal. As for his autobiography, he “never read it.” I also remember seeing footage of him in tears when his Baltimore Colts left for Indianapolis in 1984.

Here’s a clip of him on Letterman from 1988:

Donovan, a son of the Bronx, was a Marine, serving in World War II. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Area Ribbon and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon. He also stole a case of spam and to avoid being sent to the brig, he was forced to eat all 30 pounds of it, which he did in 9 days. When his time had come, he wanted to go under a tree at his country club eat too many kosher hot dogs and drink a case of Schlitz and then explode. Based on the obituary in The Sun, that didn’t see to happen. Make sure you read that obituary too, it is a great one. Check out the NFL.com obit too, it has a great video tribute (which isn’t embeddable).

Oddly enough, DC Sports Bog has a story about the time the Washington Redskins honored him: When the Redskins honored Art Donovan

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Nats split D.C. portion of the Battle of the Beltway, RIP Lewis Yocum

The D.C. portion of the Battle of the Beltways has concluded with a split. The Washington Nationals lost game 1, badly, and then rocked the Baltimore Orioles last night 9-3. In other words, the Nats are playing about the same as they always do this season.

GAME 1

Bad Gio. Bad hitting. VIDEO RECAP

GAME 2

Nate Karns debuts, can’t go 5 for a win, but shows promise. 4 home runs, 2 from Adam LaRoche and back-to-back by Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina. Is Moore finally hitting? Seems like it. VIDEO RECAP

I did not bother with my annual “why rooting for the Orioles is like rooting for Iran” or something along those lines post. How many times can I write the same thing? If not for the ridiculous “compensation for Peter Angelos” the Nats being kept off most D.C. area cable systems for most of 2 seasons and the awful coverage we’re forced to endure on MASN, I’d be pretty ambivalent about Baltimore’s baseball team. Their fans on the other hand, will not be missed. Enrico Pallazzo pays the national anthem more respect than they do.

There have been annoyances during the series, like the combination of both team’s broadcasters (does anybody like it?) and MASN incompetence (Nats Enquirer). You get the feeling for a lot of D.C. sports media the previous two games were their favorite of the year, because they get to see their team visit D.C.?

Oh and Bryce Harper is probably still out, so don’t count on him hitting the warehouse at Oriole Park tonight or tomorrow. One columnist, whose paper cuts sports in about 2 days, was hyping that up.
Reluctant superstar Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound tonight.

I’ll pay Bob Carpenter’s remarks about Nats fans as much attention as I pay him in the booth. Nice guy, mediocre play-by-play man at best, completely replaceable. It certainly does feel “fashionable” to get down on the Nats this week.

Lastly, RIP Lewis Yocum, who performed Tommy John surgery on Stephen Strasburg, Zimmermann and prospects Lucas Giolito and Sammy Solis. The Hall of Fame really needs to start a “doctor wing” to honor Yocum, Frank Jobe, James Andrews, etc.

Lastly, taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies over the weekend was nice.

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R.I.P. Mayo Stuntz

This Was Vienna, Virginia by Mayo & Connie StuntzThe Town of Vienna, Va.’s preeminent historian Mayo Sturdevant Stuntz, aged 97 years, has died. Stuntz was a lifelong resident and co-author of the book “This Was Vienna, Virginia” that was published in the late 1980s. He visited my social studies class and shared with us his memories of the town.

My brother Christopher, who provided a photograph of the book included here added “the town of Vienna will owe him a debt of gratitude for generations to come.”

FROM VIENNA PATCH

Remembering Vienna’s ‘Unofficial Historian’

Obituaries: Mayo Sturdevant Stuntz, Sr., 97

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R.I.P. Pat Summerall

Another great voice has left us — Pat Summerall, who for so many years handled play-by-play for NFC football games along side John Madden on CBS and then FOX. Prior to my time, it was Tom Brookshier working with Summerall. It seemed every autumn Sunday, Summerall and Madden would be in some NFC East city or maybe Chicago or San Francisco doing the 4 p.m. game which we watched by a roaring fire. As television memories go, they were some of the best.

Summerall was a rather restrained in his play-by-play, mostly letting the picture tell the story. His smooth voice added excitement and gravitas that somebody like Joe Buck could only dream of having. Summerall also knew that he was the straight man, setting up John Madden‘s excitable and thorough analysis. In their prime, they were the best and it wasn’t close. The pairing was the measuring stick for how important the game was — when the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys had a Sunday game without Summerall and Madden, it was a story in D.C.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can still hear Summerall winding down a broadcast with “Stay tuned for “60 Minutes” followed by “Murder She Wrote” and the CBS Sunday Night Movie… (EXCEPT ON THE WEST COAST)” He was a natural. In addition to football, Summerall also did golf and tennis for CBS.

When FOX shocked everybody by taking over the NFC rights, Summerall and Madden moved over to the fourth network, lending more credibility to its coverage than it deserved. As much as I may have liked the Simpsons, it was still a bit grating to hear Summerall promote “Married…with Children, the Simpsons, etc.” It wasn’t long after the switch to FOX that Summerall began a decline, mostly due to age.

Before becoming a sportscaster, Summerall was a kicker in the NFL, mostly with the Chicago Cardinals, but most famously with the New York Football Giants. In fact, one of the surprising things about long-time Yankee Stadium p.a. announcer Bob Sheppard was that when asked about his favorite moment it wasn’t about the Yankees:

Mara recalled how Phil Rizzuto once asked Sheppard on TV during a rain delay for his fondest Yankee Stadium moment.

“Much to The Scooter’s dismay, Bob replied, ‘The day Summerall kicked the field goal in the snow to beat Cleveland in 1958,’” Mara said.

- From: Bob Sheppard’s funeral: a majestic voice stilledAP/FOX News

Here is how Sports Illustrated covered the story in 1958 49 Yards And One Foot Here is a gallery too.

Also, Summerall, born George Allen Summerall, picked up “Pat” as a child from an uncle, not because he kicked the “point after touchdown” according this USA Today column: Hiestand: Much more to Summerall than TV persona

CLIPS!

Darrell Green’s punt return touchdown against the Chicago Bears in 1987-88 playoffs

Green again, one week later. Maybe not the best example, but I don’t think many Washingtonians will complain…

Week 15 of the 1983 season opener between the Redskins vs. Cowboys

The beginning of the last CBS broadcast, the 1993 NFC Championship Game. The pool halls scene is nothing special , but what follows is perfect Summerall narration and a subtle, but appropriate sendoff.

The NFL doesn’t have embeddable videos, but here are a couple of good ones on the Giants Web site: Pat Summerall: A life remembered | Frank Gifford looks back on Pat Summerall’s career


MORE COVERAGE

Pat Summerall and the Redskins – D.C. Sports Bog, The Post

Pat Summerall, football broadcaster, dies at 82The Post

The Voice of the SeasonSports on Earth

Pat Summerall, Star Kicker With Giants and a Calm Voice on TV, Dies at 82The Times

Pat Summerall, longtime voice of the NFL for CBS and Fox, where teamed up with John Madden, dead at 82NY Daily News

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R.I.P. Jack Pardee

Jack Pardee, the head coach of the Washington Redskins between George Allen and Joe Gibbs, died recently at age 71. He had been a member of the “Over the Hill Gang” under Allen and was a head coach within five years of retirement.

DC Sports Bog has a great feature on Pardee with excepts from original Post coverage of his hiring and dismissal. Pardee was coach of the year in 1979, but missed out on the NFC East title and playoffs by one point following Roger Staubach’s final comeback as Dallas Cowboys quarterback. A year later, Pardee was out of a job after a season that John Riggins held out. Two years later, Joe Gibbs won Super Bowl XVII as a second year coach.

Pardee later coached the Houston Oilers. In 1991, the Oilers came into RFK Stadium to face the undefeated Redskins. The visitors nearly upset the hosts too, but the Houston kicker missed, claiming athletic supporter malfunction. I chronicled that a while back in this blog post: Redskins vs. Texans prediction and remembering Ian Howfield.

Pardee also coached the Chicago Bears before the Redskins, the USFL’s Houston Gamblers and the University of Houston before the Oilers. He was one of the “Junction Boys” at Texas A&M under Bear Bryant, surviving brutal training conditions in a brutal west Texas drought. As a member of the Los Angeles Rams, he survived melanoma and resumed his career.

OBITUARIES

Jack Pardee, former head coach and linebacker for the Redskins, diesThe Post

Texas football legend Jack Pardee dies at 76
Houston Chronicle
Jack Pardee, Texas A&M Star and N.F.L. Coach, Dies at 76The Times
Jack Pardee dies at 76; All-Pro linebacker with the L.A. RamsL.A. Times

MORE

Redskins remember Jack Pardee fondly The Insider, The Post

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R.I.P. Shelby Whitfield

Shelby Whitfield, former Senators broadcaster, dies at 77The Post
The alumni of the Washington Senators, on and off the diamond, just got smaller again. Shelby Whitfield, who broadcasted the Senators with Ron Menchine on radio and television for the 1969 and 1970 seasons died. Though his tenure in the RFK Stadium press box was brief, Whitfield wrote a book about the end of the Senators at the hands of owner Bob Short called “Kiss it Goodbye. (Amazon)”

He described Short, who died in 1982, as “an intimidating, domineering person” who was slow to pay his bills. Short asked announcers to inflate crowd numbers, Mr. Whitfield wrote, and to say the weather was always sunny, “even if the floodwaters were lapping the sides of RFK Stadium.”

The book helped prompt the Federal Communications Commission to launch hearings into the ethics of sports broadcasting. In 1974, the FCC passed a regulation — since rescinded — requiring announcers to disclose during games whether they were employees of a team, a league or a broadcasting company.

After leaving the Senators beat, Mr. Whitfield worked for WWDC-AM as the host of “Sports Roundtable,” one of Washington’s first radio sports talk shows. Mr. Whitfield later spent seven years as the Washington-based sports director of Associated Press Radio before going to New York in 1981 as sports director of ABC Radio.

I’ll have to add that to my reading list.

Whitfield’s career also included co-authoring a book with Howard Cosell.

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R.I.P. Chuck Hinton, Washington Senators player, Howard University baseball coach

The last Washington Senators player to hit .300 for a season has died. Chuck Hinton wore #32 from 1961-64 with the expansion Senators and hit .310 in his second season.

Hinton’s statistics during his D.C. career from Baseball Reference:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
545 2202 1961 275 549 83 30 49 217 92 30 208 303 .280 .347 .428 .775 113 839 53 3 11 19 10

Hinton was an All-Star in 1964. He would play for the Cleveland Indians and California Angles during the remainder of his career.

The Rocky Mount, N.C. native returned to Washington in 1971 though, becoming the head baseball coach at Howard University for 28 years.

During his tenure, Hinton led the Bison to their first ever MEAC title and was responsible for the careers of former Major league standouts Milt Thompson and Jerry Davis.

Others who benefited from Hinton’s mentoring include boxing promoter Rock Newman and broadcaster Glenn Harris.

Hinton also founded the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and was a vice president at the time of his death. From the MLBPAA “About Us” page:

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) was formed in 1982 in order to promote the game of baseball, raise money for charity, inspire and educate youth through positive sport images and protect the dignity of the game through former players. A nonprofit organization, the MLBPAA establishes a place where a player’s drive for excellence and achievement on the field can continue long after they take their last steps off the professional diamond.

Hinton was present at the “baseball is back” announcement at the City Museum in September 2004. I don’t know why the Washington Nationals did not bring Hinton into the fold. From all indications, Hinton was a credit to the sport. It is unfortunate he was not as well known as he should have been.

Hinton was inducted Washington Hall of Stars. He authored My Time at Bat in 2002 which is available from Amazon.

TWITTER TRIBUTES

APPRECIATIONS

Chuck Hinton (1934-2013): An Appreciation D.C. Baseball History
Jim Hartley got to know Hinton and writes about him.

Chuck Hinton: Remembering a good guy – – D.C. Baseball History
Long-time D.C. sportswriter Dick Heller shared an embarrassing anecdote about himself while remembering Hinton.

Chuck Hinton, last Washington Senator to hit .300, dies at 78The Post
It took a while, but there is finally an obituary from The Post and it is a good one.

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R.I.P. Eddie Yost, former Washington Senators third baseman, coach

‘Walking Man’ Yost passes away at 86nationals.com
The “walking man” Eddie Yost, perhaps the greatest #1 in D.C. baseball history if not all D.C. sports history, died yesterday three days after his 86th birthday. A third baseman, Yost led the American League in walks four times during his playing days with the 14 seasons he played for Washington Senators. His on-base percentage with the Nats was .389. He never hit above .300. He finished his playing career with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels.

Yost was a third-base coach with the expansion Senators from 1963-1967, managing a game in 1963 after Mickey Vernon was fired and Gil Hodges took over. Yost followed Hodges to the New York Mets in 1968 and was the third base coach there through 1976. His final job was with the Boston Red Sox through 1984. Yost was a native New Yorker.

OBITUARIES:
Eddie Yost, the Washington Senators’ ‘Walking Man’ of the 1950s, dies at 86The Post | Eddie Yost, Baseball’s Walking Man, Dies at 86The Times

RUSS WHITE:
My Friend EDDIE YOSTD.C. Baseball History
Long-time Senators beat writer remembers Yost.

Eddie YostBaseball Reference

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R.I.P. Beano Cook

I think it was 1997 when I first became aware of college football commentator Beano Cook. ESPN chats were how I was introduced to the historian and his histrionics. I suppose in a sense, he was a little refreshing from the cocoon of Penn State coverage. He was actually critical of Penn State and Joe Paterno from time to time, (which wasn’t the norm in the late 90s, though I’m sure some will protest that observation) not overly so, but generally fair. As I followed him, I learned of his prediction of Ron Powlus winning two Heisman Trophies (Beano overestimated by two) and some of his other witticisms, such as reacting to MLB’s giving hostages free lifetime passes to games with “haven’t they suffered enough.”

Beano was a publicist at Pitt, his alma mater, in the 1950s and 1960s and then most prominently a television executive before turning analyst. The rise of college football on TV is due in part to Beano.

Overall, I think I respected Beano because he realized the history of college football was more than the current top 25. He even talked about the Ivy League from time to time.

Years later, with what started out as a Tailgate Advisory and Newsletter, I started a feature called “Beano Watch.” Basically, I grabbed what ever he said about the Nittany Lions and usually included some mock outrage and the observation that the opposite of his prediction always came true. I even got the ESPN Insider subscription so that I could read his chat. It later became part of my blogging. The Beano schtick became part of tailgates with friends.

I was following Beano as closely over the last couple of years because the joke went about as far as I could go and there weren’t too many times we all tailgated together to tell them. After last November, I pretty much tuned out college football in general too (I might address that this week), but I’d occasionally listen to his podcast. He was more fair about Penn State than most and I appreciated it. His podcasts with Ivan Maisel were some of the few I listened to over the years.

TRIBUTES AND OBITUARIES

Obituary: Carroll H. ‘Beano’ Cook / Legendary local college football analyst | Pitt legend ‘Beano’ Cook diesPost-Gazette

Former Pitt official, ESPN analyst Beano Cook diesTribune-Review

IVAN MAISEL: Beano was an expert in friendshipESPN







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