PASSINGS: Jim Bibby, Athan Karras

Pitcher Jim Bibby started two winning 1979 World Series games for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pitcher Jim Bibby started two winning 1979 World Series games for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
(Associated Press)

Jim Bibby

Pitched in ’79 Series

Jim Bibby, 65, who pitched the first no-hitter in Texas Rangers history in 1973 and started two games for the victorious Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1979 World Series, died Tuesday at Lynchburg (Va.) General Hospital. The cause was not disclosed.

Bibby, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-hander, also played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians from 1972 to 1984 in the major leagues. His best season was 1980, when he went 19-6 with a 3.33 earned-run average for the Pirates, made the All-Star team and finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting.

Born Oct. 29, 1944, in Franklinton, N.C., Bibby played baseball and basketball at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. He signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 1965, but his baseball career was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army. After driving trucks in Vietnam during the war, he returned to baseball and overcame a spinal fusion operation in 1971.

His younger brother Henry, a star basketball player at UCLA, went on to play in the NBA and coach at USC and is now an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. His older brother Fred was also a standout college basketball player.

Athan Karras

Advocate of Greek dance

Athan Karras, 82, who helped popularize Greek dancing in the U.S. through theater, festivals and a Silver Lake club, died Friday at Providence Tarzana Medical Center of complications from coronary-bypass surgery, his family said.

The Greek dance movement within the Greek Orthodox church can be traced to Karras, said Frosene Phillips, editor of the Hellenic Journal, a Greek American monthly.

“People took lessons from him and were inspired by him,” she said.

Born Sept. 27, 1927, in Greece, Karras came to the United States when he was about 12. After serving in the Coast Guard, he studied theater and dance at New York University and eventually joined the Greek National Theater and a Greek national folk ensemble.

In the mid-1960s, he co-founded and ran the Intersection, a Silver Lake club that featured nightly folk-dancing and “caught on like wildfire,” Karras told The Times in 1985, the year it closed.

For 25 years, he taught Greek culture and dance at Loyola Marymount University. He also appeared in about 20 films and television projects, staged a number of Greek-language plays in Los Angeles and produced folklore programs and events throughout North America.

-- times staff and wire reports