Sports obituaries, 2009



Nick Adenhart, 22

Angels' rookie pitcher killed hours after his season debut in a car crash involving an alleged drunk driver.

Johnny Blanchard, 76

Pinch-hitting specialist played in five World Series for the New York Yankees.

Dominic DiMaggio, 92

Boston Red Sox center fielder and seven-time American League All-Star whose impressive career was overshadowed by his older brother Joe, the Yankee Clipper.

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, 54

Pitcher whose offbeat antics electrified the city of Detroit and baseball fans everywhere.

Joe Garvey, 81

Greyhound bus driver transported Dodgers to spring training games and was father of L.A. star Steve Garvey.

Woodie Held, 77

Played 14 years in the major leagues and was traded for future home run king Roger Maris.

Tommy Henrich, 96

New York Yankee with knack of delivering clutch hits.

George Kell, 86

Hall of Fame third baseman outlasted Ted Williams for the 1949 batting title.

Whitey Lockman, 82

Baseball player whose key hit for New York Giants set the stage for Bobby Thomson's dramatic home run in 1951 playoff game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jack Lohrke, 85

Major league infielder in the 1940s and 1950s whose seeming ability to cheat death away from the baseball diamond earned him the nickname "Lucky."

Dusty Rhodes, 82

Light-hitting, hard-drinking outfielder who was at his best on baseball's biggest stage.

Dave Roberts, 64

Pitcher on 1979 world champion Pittsburgh Pirates team.

Tom Sturdivant, 78

Pitcher for several major league teams who had the most success with the New York Yankees in the 1950s.

Ted Uhlaender, 68

Major league outfielder with the Twins, Indians and Reds.

Bill Werber, 100

Oldest living former major league baseball player and a teammate of Babe Ruth.

Carlton Willey, 78

A pitcher whose eight-year major league career included a World Series appearance for the Milwaukee Braves in 1958.

Hal Woodeshick, 76

Pitcher played for five major league teams and led National League in saves in 1964.


J.C. Gipson, 77

Basketball player who played more than 20 years for the Harlem Globetrotters and got his start at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, where he was named city player of the year in 1951.

Norm Van Lier, 61

Chicago Bulls guard and broadcaster.

Randy Smith, 60

An All-Star basketball player in the 1970s with the Buffalo Braves -- the precursor to the Clippers -- who once held the NBA record for consecutive games played.

Wayman Tisdale, 44

Three-time All-American at Oklahoma who played 12 seasons in the NBA and later became a leading contemporary jazz musician.

Marvin Webster, 56

NBA player known as the "Human Eraser" for his shot-blocking ability.


Alexis Arguello, 57

Boxer who won three world titles in the ring but lost several bouts with personal demons outside the ropes. Presumed suicide

Salamo Arouch, 86

Jewish boxer who survived Auschwitz by fighting and whose story was made into the 1989 film "Triumph of the Spirit."

Edward Fatu, 36

Pro wrestler.

Lou Filippo, 83

Boxing hall of famer who became a referee and ring judge and had small roles in the "Rocky" movies.

Vernon Forrest, 38

A former two-division champion who gained stardom when he became the first boxer to defeat Shane Mosley, shot to death in an attempted robbery.

Arturo Gatti, 37

Former junior welterweight boxing champion, found dead in Brazil hotel room.

Ingemar Johansson, 76

Swede who stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson to win the heavyweight title in 1959.

Harry Kabakoff, 82

Colorful boxing trainer and manager.

Mike LeBell, 79

Wrestling promoter at the Olympic Auditorium.

Ernie "Indian Red" Lopez, 64

Popular boxer in the 1960s and '70s who twice lost title fights before sellout crowds at the Forum.

Raul Macias, 74

Bantamweight champion won title in 1955.

Greg Page, 50

Former heavyweight boxing champion suffered brain injury in 2001 fight.

Jose Torres, 72

Former light heavyweight world boxing champion and Olympic silver medalist.

Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, 49

Football player and All-American wrestler at the University of Oklahoma who was best known for his work in professional wrestling.


Bill Barnes, 91

UCLA football coach in the late 1950s and early '60s.

Glenn Bell, 61

Football coach who guided Dorsey High to a city championship in the 1980s and taught for nearly 40 years at Southern California schools.

Al Cervi, 92

Basketball hall of famer who played for the Buffalo Bisons and the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League before coaching the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA championship.

Chuck Daly, 78

Hall of Fame basketball coach led Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles and the "Dream Team" to Olympic Gold.

Forest Evashevski, 91

College football star at Michigan who coached Iowa to two Rose Bowl victories in the 1950s.

Foge Fazio, 71

Football coach at alma mater Pittsburgh.

Herman Franks, 95

Former manager of the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Preston Gomez, 86

Former Padres manager, Dodgers coach and Angels consultant dies nine months after suffering injuries in accident.

Charles Garland Lewis Sr., 97

Basketball coach and athletic director at San Marino High School.

Julio Mazzei, 78

Soccer coach for N.Y. Cosmos persuaded Pele to play in the United States.

Jim Owens, 82

Football coach at University of Washington led Huskies to three Rose Bowls.

Danny Ozark, 85

One-time Dodger coach who went on to manage the Philadelphia Phillies to three division titles in the 1970s.

Larry Regan, 78

Former coach and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings.

Bobby Robson, 76

Knighted British soccer coach

Lou Saban, 87

Coached O.J. Simpson in the NFL and ran the New York Yankees for George Steinbrenner during a well-traveled career.

John Scolinos, 91

Cal Poly Pomona basetball coach who won three Division II national championships.

Bruce Snyder, 69

College football coach had an unbeaten regular season at Arizona State University.

Kay Yow, 66

Hall of Fame women's basketball coach at North Carolina State who won more than 700 games while earning fans with her fight against breast cancer.


Ernie Barnes, 70

Former professional football player who became a successful figurative painter.

George Belotti, 74

Played on the American Football League's first championship team after lettering for three seasons at USC.

Felix "Doc" Blanchard, 84

Heisman Trophy winner was Mr. Inside in Army's famous running-back tandem that included Mr. Outside Glenn Davis.

Cullen Bryant, 58

Los Angeles Rams running back for 11 seasons in the 1970s and '80s.

Gus Cifelli, 84

Tackle who played on three national championship teams at Notre Dame and helped the Detroit Lions to the 1952 NFL title.

Ralph Clark, 92

Orange County supervisor who advocated mass transit in the 1970s and helped move the Rams football team to Anaheim.

Monte Clark, 72

Former USC lineman was NFL coach with the Detroit Lions.

Leon Clarke, 76

Offensive end and flanker for the Los Angeles Rams and USC.

Nate DeFrancisco, 89

UCLA football player from 1939 to 1941 who became a football coach and an administrator at Riverside City College.

John Gordy, 73

Detroit Lions lineman headed NFL players union in first collective bargaining agreement with owners.

Arthur Hemingway, 48

USC football recruit paralyzed in car accident became scholar, coach.

Chris Henry, 26

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, died after falling out of a pickup truck in a domestic dispute.

Mel Kaufman, 50

Played in three Super Bowls as linebacker for the Washington Redskins.

Jack Kemp, 73

Former professional football star and Republican Party stalwart who advocated tax cuts and supply-side economics.

Dante "Gluefingers" Lavelli, 85

Sure-handed Hall of Fame receiver who helped the Cleveland Browns build a pro football dynasty in the 1940s and '50s.

George McAfee, 90

An explosive threat playing both offense and defense for the Chicago Bears in the 1940s.

Steve McNair, 36

Former NFL quarterback who was named co-most valuable player in 2003, shot to death by girlfriend.

Brad Van Pelt, 57

Pro Bowl player with the New York Giants who helped form one of the NFL's best linebacking corps in the early 1980s.

Eric Scoggins, 49

Former USC linebacker died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Jerry Shipkey, 84

Football player for both USC and UCLA in Rose Bowl games during the 1940s before a standout NFL career.

Kevin Telles, 17

Garden Grove High football player died during a game.

Burl Toler, 81

Star athlete at USF whose team refused to play bowl game without African American players. Became first African American NFL game official

John "Jack" Zilly, 88

Played on 2 national title teams at Notre Dame and played five seasons with L.A. Rams


Ira "Babe" Hanford, 91

Jockey rode 20-1 shot Bold Venture to victory in the 1936 Kentucky Derby.

Eddie Logan, 98

Shoe shiner worked at Santa Anita for 74 years.

Richard Matlow, 66

Thoroughbred trainer who won his only graded stakes race in November at Hollywood Park.

Vincent O'Brien, 92

One of horse racing's great European trainers.

Ismael "Milo" Valenzuela, 74

Hall of fame jockey who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1958 and 1968.


Chester "Chet" Herbert, 81

Drag-racing pioneer who continued to innovate in the sport after polio paralyzed him from the chest down at 20.

Jeremy Lusk, 24

Star of a daredevil sport known as freestyle motocross who died after a crash in competition.

Jack McCoy, 72

Stock-car driver who won a record 54 races in the 1960s and '70s in NASCAR's West Coast regional series.

Donna Mae Mims, 82

First woman to win a Sports Car Club of America national championship and a participant in the original "Cannonball Run."

Lloyd Ruby, 81

Driver raced in the Indianapolis 500 for 18 straight years and won the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race.


Glenn "Jeep" Davis, 74

Three-time Olympic gold medal hurdler.

Lis Hartel, 87

Equestrian won two Olympic silver medals despite being paralyzed below the knee by polio.

Payton Jordan, 91

Coach of the U.S. track and field team at the 1968 Olympics.

Rena "Rusty" Kanokogi, 74

Known as the "Mother of Judo" partly for her role in bringing women's judo to the Olympic Games.

David Laut, 52

Shot-putter who won bronze medal at 1984 Olympics, shot to death by prowlers at Oxnard home.

Andrea Mead Lawrence, 76

Only American alpine skier to win two gold medals in a single Olympics and who went on to become a leading conservationist in the Eastern Sierra.

Richard Quick, 66

Swim coach who won a record 13 NCAA titles at Auburn, Stanford and Texas and also led the U.S. Olympic teams in 1988, 1996 and 2000.

Godfrey Rampling, 100

Believed to be Britain's oldest Olympian and winner of gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay at the 1936 Berlin Games.

Toni Sailer, 73

Austrian who in 1956 became the first skier to win all three Alpine gold medals at a Winter Olympics.

Nick Scandone, 42

Sailor with Lou Gehrig's disease won a gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games.

Kamila Skolimowska, 26

Winner of the gold medal in the women's hammer throw at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, collapsed while training.

Mike Whitmarsh, 46

Olympic silver medalist in beach volleyball and a star on the professional tour for 15 seasons, suicide from carbon monoxide inhalation.


Conchita Cintron, 86

Broke into the male-dominated sport of bullfighting at 13 and became one of the world's first famous female matadors.

John Edmond Jr., 67

Longtime instructor at Rancho Park Golf Course.

Nic Fiore, 88

Ski instructors who taught at Badger Pass ski area in Yosemite National Park for more than 50 years.

Bobby Frankel, 68

Hall of Fame trainer of race horses.

Joe Goldstein, 81

Persistent sports publicist who promoted events including New York City Marathon and Evil Knievel's jump of the Snake River Canyon.

Chris Hawk, 58

Surfer and board shaper was inducted into Surfers' Hall of Fame in September.

Irvin "Zabo" Koszewski, 84

Muscle Beach bodybuilder who won several best abdominal titles in three decades of competition.

Jack Kramer, 88

Tennis champion became a top promoter and driving force in players' gaining wealth and influence.

Bob Mitchell, 96

Dodger Stadium organist and one of the last surviving working accompanists from the silent-film era.

Eric Monti, 91

Longtime pro at Hillcrest Country Club taught legions of stars how to golf.

Gloria Nord, 87

Theatrical skating sensation of the 1940s and 50s who captivated audiences with her balletic agility on roller skates and later on ice.

Alf Pike, 91

Member of the New York Rangers' 1940 Stanley Cup championship team who later coached the club.

Bill Poole, 87

Sportsfishing pioneer.

Bill Powell, 93

First African American to build, own and operate a golf course.

Bob Rosburg, 82

Golfer won the 1959 PGA Championship and became one of the first TV announcers to rove the course along with the players.

Albert Scanlon, 74

Manchester United soccer player who was one of the survivors of the 1958 Munich air disaster.

Clint Smith, 95

Hall of Fame hockey player and two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy.

Armand Tanny, 90

Muscle Beach bodybuilder won U.S. titles in 1949 and 1950.


Roy Boe, 79

Owned both the Julius Erving-led New York Nets of the ABA and the fledgling New York Islanders of the NHL in the 1970s.

Myles Brand, 67

NCAA president best remembered as the Indiana University president who fired legendary basketball coach Bob Knight.

Sue Burns, 58

A part owner of the San Francisco Giants who was a close friend of home run king Barry Bonds.

Bill Davidson, 86

Detroit Pistons' Hall of Fame owner and noted philanthropist.

Nate Dolin, 95

Former Cleveland Indians vice president and part-owner of the baseball team from 1949 to 1962.

Wiles Hallock, 91

Former Pacific-10 Conference commissioner who oversaw the league's expansion from eight to 10 schools.

Colleen Howe, 76

Wife of hockey great Gordie Howe and one of the first female sports agents.

Richard E. Jacobs, 83

Former owner of Cleveland Indians revived team's fortunes.

Larry H. Miller, 64

Car sales mogul and owner of the Utah Jazz NBA team.

Carl Pohlad, 93

Owner of Minnesota Twins baseball team and one of the richest men in America, said to be worth $3.8 billion.

Abe Pollin, 85

Washington Wizards owner who brought an NBA championship to the nation's capital.

William Russell, 94

Longtime high school sports commissioner


Buddy Blattner, 89

Major leaguer and sportscaster who paired with Don Wells on Angels radio broadcasts in the 1960s.

Herb Farmer, 89

Professor and associate dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts who filmed football games from the roof of the Coliseum press box and oversaw the school's film archives.

Glen Gondrezick, 53

UNLV and NBA player turned to broadcasting.

Merle Harmon, 82

Sports broadcaster for ABC and NBC called World Series and Super Bowl games as well as college sports.

Joe Hirsch, 80

Longtime columnist for the Daily Racing Form known as the dean of American turf writers.

Rod Van Hook, 61

Veteran sports broadcaster for Los Angeles radio stations KFWB, KMPC and KSPN.

Harry Kalas, 73

Longtime voice of baseball's Philadelphia Phillies who also had a familiar role as an NFL Films narrator.

Les Keiter, 89

Sportscaster did radio re-creation of San Francisco Giants games for New York fans abandoned when team moved West.

Johnny "Red" Kerr, 76

Chicago Bulls coach who spent more than three decades as a broadcaster for the NBA team.

Norm Van Lier, 61

Chicago Bulls guard and broadcaster.

George Michael, 70

Sportscaster whose extensive use of game highlights from across the country on his nationally syndicated show has now become the norm in the industry.

Cordner Nelson, 91

Writer and editor who co-founded Track & Field News.

Bob Oates, 93

L.A. sportswriter covered 39 consecutive Super Bowl games.

Mike Penner, 52

Los Angeles Times sportswriter who made headlines in 2007 when he announced that he was transsexual.

Lester Rodney, 98

Sportswriter for the American Communist Party newspaper the Daily Worker who crusaded to end segregation in major league baseball in the 1930s and '40s.

Bob Rosburg, 82

Golfer won the 1959 PGA Championship and became one of the first TV announcers to rove the course along with the players.

Wresley "Red" Rush, 81

Sportscaster called games for Oakland A's and Loyola University of Chicago.

Edwin "Bud" Shrake, 77

Author and journalist who co-wrote the bestselling golf book "Harvey Penick's Little Red Book."