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Longtime baseball executive Buzzie Bavasi passes away at age 9305/01/2008 6:20 PM ET
SEATTLE -- Emil Joseph "Buzzie" Bavasi has passed away at the age of 93 years old in San Diego, CA, of natural causes after a short illness. One of the game's most likable and respected figures, he earned a reputation of a hard-working, loyal, effective general manager and owner. Bavasi spent 44 years in organized baseball including 34 in the Major Leagues. He got his start in 1939 as the traveling secretary and publicity director for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He served various roles in the Dodgers front office, before being promoted to the position of general manager before the 1951 season. As the long-time general manager for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1951-68, his clubs won eight NL pennants and four World Championships in his 17 years at the helm. He built the Dodgers' only World Championship team in Brooklyn (1955), building clubs that included Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. He then led the Dodgers to three World Championships following their move to Los Angeles (1959, '63, '65). Bavasi also played a key role in Jackie Robinson's integration into Major League Baseball, the first African-American player to appear in the Major Leagues. Bavasi spent four years in the military during World War II, serving in the infantry as a machine gunner from 1943-46. "He was like a father to me," Don Zimmer said, "from the time I was 19 years old...all my life, really. I can't describe how much he meant to me." Bavasi also served as part owner and team president of the San Diego Padres (1969-77), and executive vice president of the California Angels (1978-84). He was twice named executive of the year, once with the Dodgers (1959) and once in the minor leagues with Montreal (1948). He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evit, and four sons: Peter (and his wife, Judy), Chris (and his wife, Corinne), Bob (and his wife, Margaret) and Bill (and his wife, Tracy); nine grandchildren: Patrick, Cristina, Aimee, Amanda, Alexandra, Haley, Emily, Kyle and Katherine; and five great-grandchildren: Cooper, Lolly, Cole, Summer and Luke. Bill is the Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President and General Manager of Baseball Operations. Funeral arrangements will be private to the family only. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), 245 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10167 (212 931-7822) or Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, 9665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 801, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (310-385-4628, www.probaseballscouts.com).
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