Leon Day, a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues who was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame only six days earlier, died Monday. He was 78.
Day died in St. Agnes Hospital at 4:35 p.m., nursing supervisor Karen Bradwick said. He was admitted to the hospital a few hours before his election to the Hall of Fame and had been treated for a heart condition, diabetes and gout.
Day, who played in the 1930s and '40s, was elected by the Veterans Committee in Tampa, Fla., on March 7.
"I'm a little sick, but I'm feeling a little better now," Day said from his hospital room after hearing the news.
The day he was elected, Day said he hoped to attend the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30.
Earlier in the month, he expressed some bitterness at the time it took the Hall to recognize his accomplishments as a pitcher, outfielder and second baseman.
"It's too bad they waited so long, God almighty," he said. "They could have done it when I could have enjoyed it more."
Day was considered one of the best pitchers in the Negro Leagues, mainly for the Newark Eagles. He pitched in a record seven all-star games and also was an outstanding hitter.
The 5-foot-9 Day won three of four matchups with Hall of Famer Satchel Paige and set a league record with 18 strikeouts in a game, fanning future Hall of Famer Roy Campanella three times.