10/11/2006 8:21 PM ET
Tragic deaths of Major Leaguers
By Bob Dittmeier / MLB.com
Thurman Munson (15) with Mickey Rivers, Chris Chambliss and Reggie Jackson in 1978. (AP)
Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle's death in a tragic plane crash in New York City on Wednesday recalled for many fans other high-profile deaths in the world of baseball.
In 2002, fans across the country learned of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile's death. At the time, Kile was the first Major League player in 23 years to perish while a season was in progress. Unforunately, There have been many more Major Leaguers whose careers were cut short by tragic, untimely deaths. Here are some of them:
HARRY AGGANIS: The Red Sox first baseman was 25 and hitting .313 in his second Major League season when he died on June 27, 1955, of a massive pulmonary embolism while in a Cambridge, Mass., hospital, where he was recovering from pneumonia. Agganis, a native of Lynn, Mass., was a football star at Boston University but signed with the Red Sox in 1953.
LYMAN BOSTOCK: Bostock, a 27-year-old outfielder for the Angels, was finishing his fourth Major League season when he was fatally shot in what was ruled a case of mistaken identity on Sept. 23, 1978, in Gary, Ind. Bostock, considered a developing player with speed, moderate power, and the ability to hit for average, batted .323 and .336 for the Twins in 1976 and '77. He was dealt to California after the '77 season and was batting .296 when he was killed.
RAY CHAPMAN: Chapman, an Indians outfielder, is the only player to die from an injury sustained in a Major League game. He died Aug. 17, 1920, of complications from a skull fracture resulting from being hit by a pitch by the Yankees' Carl Mays. Chapman played nine seasons for Cleveland, and was batting .303 -- his career-high for a full season -- at the time of his death. He was 29.
ROBERTO CLEMENTE: The 12-time All-Star outfielder got his 3,000th career hit in his final regular-season at-bat in 1972. He was killed Dec. 31 of that year when a plane he'd chartered to carry relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua crashed shortly after takeoff in the water surrounding his native Puerto Rico. Clemente, 38, played 18 seasons for the Pirates, had a career batting average of .317, and was the NL MVP in 1966 when he had a career-high 29 home runs and 119 RBIs. He was the MVP of the 1971 World Series, when he batted .414 in the Pirates' seven-game victory over Baltimore. Considered one of the finest outfielders of his era, Clemente won 12 Gold Gloves. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame after a special election was held in 1973.
MIKE DARR: A Padres outfielder, the 25-year-old Darr was killed in an automobile accident on Feb. 15, 2002, in Arizona. Darr had played his first full season in the Majors in 2001, batting .277 in 105 games. He spent parts of two previous seasons with San Diego.
ED DELAHANTY: Big Ed Delahanty was an outfielder and first baseman who played for Philadelphia of the NL and Washington of the AL from 1888-1903. He played parts of 16 seasons and batted .346 with 101 home runs -- a high home run total in that era. He was 35 years old and batting .333 for Washington when he was found dead in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on July 9, 1903, after apparently falling off the International Bridge joining the U.S. and Canada. His death remains mysterious in that details of the events leading up to his disappearance have never been clarified. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
DANNY FRISELLA: A right-handed reliever, the 30-year-old Frisella pitched in parts of 10 seasons for the Mets, Braves, Padres, Cardinals and Brewers. He was killed Jan. 1, 1977, in a dune-buggy accident near Phoenix, Ariz. He is remembered mostly for his days with the Mets, and for teaming with Tug McGraw to give New York a potent lefty-righty bullpen duo in the early '70s. Frisella saved a career-high 12 games in 1971 and appeared in 351 games in his Major League career.
KEN HUBBS: Hubbs, a 22-year-old Cubs second baseman, was killed in a light plane crash on a frozen lake near Provo, Utah, on Feb. 15, 1964. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1962, receiving 19 of a possible 20 votes, after batting .260 with five home runs and 49 RBIs. Hubbs also won a Gold Glove that season. His average dipped to .235 in 1963, but he drove in 47 runs and was expected to be the Cubs' long-term starting second baseman.
ADDIE JOSS: Joss, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, was preparing for his 10th Major League season with Cleveland, after missing most of the previous season with an elbow injury, when he died suddenly of tubercular meningitis on April 14, 1911, two days after his 31st birthday. He had a career record of 190-67 and a 1.89 ERA, twice leading the AL in ERA. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee in 1978.
DARRYL KILE: The baseball world was shocked when, on the morning of June 22, 2002, Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in his Chicago hotel room at the age of 33. Known as a fierce competitor who never missed a start in the Major Leagues, Kile was felled by coronary atherosclerosis, what the autopsy referred to as "a narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart muscle."
MIKE MILEY: Miley was a 23-year-old shortstop for the Angels when he was killed in an automobile accident on Jan. 6, 1977. He was California's No. 1 draft pick in 1974 and played in 70 games in 1975 and 14 in 1976. Miley quarterbacked the Louisiana State football team into the Orange Bowl as a junior in 1974 but left school to sign with the Angels later that year.
BOB MOOSE: The Pirates right-hander, primarily a starter from 1968-73 but by then a reliever, was killed in an automobile accident on Oct. 9, 1976 -- his 29th birthday. Moose's best season was 1969, when he went 14-3 and pitched a no-hitter against the Mets, and his career record was 76-71 with a 3.50 ERA in 289 games. He pitched in three games in the 1971 World Series.
ED MORRIS: Morris, a 32-year-old pitcher for the Red Sox whose best seasons were in 1928-29, when he won a combined 33 games, died from stab wounds to the chest -- the result of a fight during a fish fry given in his honor the night before he was to leave for Boston's Spring Training camp in 1932.
THURMAN MUNSON: The Yankee captain, a seven-time All-Star, was killed Aug. 2, 1979, when the plane he was piloting crashed during a practice landing in Canton, Ohio. The 32-year-old catcher was the AL Most Valuable Player in 1976 and its Rookie of the Year in 1970. He drove in 100 or more runs in three consecutive seasons, 1975-77, and hit .292 in a career that spanned 11 seasons. He batted .373 in six postseason series. He was the last Major League player before Kile to die during a season.
STEVE OLIN and TIM CREWS: Olin, 27, and Crews, 31, pitchers for the Indians, were killed in a boating accident near Winter Haven, Fla., during Spring Training in 1993. Another teammate, pitcher Bob Ojeda, was injured but survived the nighttime accident, which occurred when their boat collided with a dock. Olin had become the Indians' closer in 1991, saving 17 games that season and 29 in 1992. Crews was a middle reliever who had spent the six previous years with the Dodgers.
CHICO RUIZ: Ruiz, 33, was a utility infielder for eight seasons for the Reds and Angels. He was with California when he was killed in an automobile accident in San Diego on Feb. 9, 1972. He was a .240 career hitter in 565 Major League games.
DERNELL STENSON: A young outfield prospect for the Reds, Stenson was the unfortunate victim of what authorities believed was a botched car jacking. Stenson was killed in Chandler, Ariz., while participating in the Arizona Fall League and trying to impress the Reds front office. The AFL subsequently established the Darnell Stenson Sportsmanship Award to recognize young AFL players' accomplishments on and off the field. Stenson was 25.
DON WILSON: The 29-year-old Astros right-hander had a career record of 104-92 and had pitched two no-hitters when he was found dead in a car in his garage, reportedly of carbon monoxide poisoning, on Jan. 5, 1975. His 5-year-old son, who was in an upstairs bedroom at Wilson's home in Houston, also died. Wilson's best seasons were from 1969-72, when he went 16-12, 11-6, 16-10 and 15-10. He was an NL All-Star in 1971 and threw no-hitters against the Braves in 1967 and the Reds in 1969.
Bob Dittmeier is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.