PASSINGS: Moose Skowron, Pete Fornatale

Moose SkowronFive-time World Series champion

Moose Skowron, 81, a five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees and the Dodgers and one of only two players to hit three home runs in the seventh games of World Series, died Friday of congestive heart failureat a hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill. He also had lung cancer.

Skowron became a star as a first baseman for the Yankees and went on to appear in eight All-Star games. After his playing career ended, he returned to his native Chicago and had worked for the White Sox since 1999 in the team’s community relations department.

For the Record, 11:48 a.m. April 28: A photo caption with an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the photo was taken in 1959.


Skowron helped the Yankees win four titles from 1954 to 1962, then won a fifth championship with the Dodgers in the first season after he was traded for Stan Williams. He hit .282 in 14 major league seasons with 211 home runs and 888 RBIs, also spending time with the expansion Washington Senators (1964), the White Sox (1964-67) and the Angels (1967). He was an All-Star from 1957 to ’61, appearing in both games in 1959 and 1960, then was picked one final time in 1965.

One of his Yankee teammates was catcher Yogi Berra, the only other player with three Game 7 homers in the Series.

Born William Joseph Skowron on Dec. 18, 1930, on Chicago’s North Side, he said he was given the nickname Moose when he was 7 after his grandfather gave him a haircut that caused friends to call him “Mussolini” — after the Italian fascist leader. The nickname was shortened to Moose.

After attending Purdue on a football scholarship, he signed with the Yankees.


Pete Fornatale

New York City disc jockey with free-form style

Pete Fornatale, 66, a New York City radio disc jockey who promoted his favorite rock musicians for decades in a free-form style, died Thursday in New York a week after suffering a stroke, according to his son, Peter Thomas Fornatale.

As a DJ on WNEW-FM beginning in 1969, Fornatale established a loyal following by spinning records by lesser-known artists and album cuts beyond the hit singles.

One of his favorites was Poco, a country-rock band he championed. He helped launch the careers of singer-songwriters like Suzanne Vega, John Gorka and Christine Lavin.

“It’s a very sad day for radio,” said songwriter Paul Simon. “New York has lost one of its most acclaimed and wonderful radio personalities.... He really knew his era and his music.”

The Bronx native was a Fordham University student DJ in the mid-1960s when he developed his style of progressive FM broadcasting.

“The complete freedom to put this package together, for better or for worse, stamped me then and is still with me today,” Fornatale said in 2001.


Until his death, he had hosted the show “Mixed Bag” on Saturdays for Fordham’s WFUV-FM station.

He and his son also worked on a book celebrating the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary that they finished just before Fornatale’s death, titled “50 Licks,” to be published later this year or in early 2013. The DJ also wrote “Bookends,” the story of the Simon & Garfunkel album by that title.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports