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Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch passed away Thursday after an aneurysm in his chest. He was 61.

Bob Forsch, who threw two no-hitters with the St. Louis Cardinals, threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 7 of the World Series.
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  The consummate pro, a member of one of baseball's royal families, has passed away ... RIP, Matty Alou.

15 years in the big leagues, with six teams, primarily the Giants and Pirates. 1667 games played, 1777 hits for a .307 career batting average. Just 31 career homers, but 10 different seasons in double-digit steals, with a high-water mark of 23 in 1966 -- the same year he, as a Pirate, won the NL batting title, hitting .342. (He finished in the Top 10 in batting average six times in the eight-year span from 1966-73.) Matty had seasons he led the NL in hits (1969), singles (1969-70) amd OF games played (1970). He even pitched two shutout innings for the '65 Giants.

He was involved in one of the biggest trades of the 1971-72 off-season, when the Pirates dealt him and George Brunet to the Cardinals for Nellie Briles and Vic Davalillo. He played in three post-seasons, getting to the World Series twice and winning one ring, with the 1972 A's. Matty Alou -- the quintessential entry into the Hall of Pretty Damn Fine Ballplayer.

Very few Bauxites will have seen the middle Alou brother play, and frankly, most won't even remember Moises' uncle as a player. But the baseball world is a little sadder, a little poorer today.

Rest well, Matty.

The Associated Press says long-time Baltimore Orioles pitcher and former Blue Jay Mike Flanagan was found dead outside his Maryland home yesterday.  He was 59.

Mike Flanagan was a member of the Blue Jays from 1987 to 1990.

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Harmon Killebrew, the Minnesota Twins slugger known for his tape-measure home runs, has died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., after battling esophageal cancer. He was 74.

I barely remember Killebrew, but even as an aging DH lumbering to the batter's box in his that-doesn't-look-quite-right Kansas City Royals uniform, he was an awe-inspriging vision of power at the plate.

The Twins announced that Killebrew died peacefully Tuesday morning with his wife, Nita, and their family at his side. He had announced in December that he had been diagnosed with cancer, then last week, announced that doctors had deemed his cancer incurable and he would no longer fight the "awful disease."

Harmon Clayton Killebrew, often called a "gentle giant," (yes, 6'0", 195# used to be "gigantic") hit 573 home runs during his 22-year career, 11th-most in major league history. His eight seasons with 40 or more homers still is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth.

Rest well, Killer.

Arguably the greatest Blue Jay of them all has called it a career.
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Manny Ramirez has "retired."

{{Comment withheld.}}

The Montreal Expos family is mourning the loss of reliever Woody Fryman and scout/bullpen catcher Ron Piche.   According to the Montreal Gazette, Fryman died of Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 70 while Piche lost his battle with cancer and blood poisoning at the age of 75.

1979 Topps Baseball Card of Woody Fryman.                   1965 Topps Baseball Card of Ron Piche.    

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The first manager in Toronto Blue Jays history has passed away at his Atlanta-area home.  He was 85.

Roy Hartsfield's 1978 baseball card capturing his time as a Boston Braves player and Blue Jays manager.

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After two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers -- Trevor Hoffman never did look quite right in that uniform -- baseballís all-time saves leader (with 601!) has announced that he's hanging 'em up before the 2011 season gets underway. As one wire service put it so aptly, he's "thrown his final changeup, deciding at age 43 to retire and return to the San Diego Padres in a front office job." Hey, he's been "retiring" hitters regularly for so many years -- it's about time he took a stab at this "retiring" thing hissownself!

I'm rolling thunder, pouring rain
I'm coming on like a hurricane
My lightning's flashing across the sky
You're only young but you're gonna die
I won't take no prisoners won't spare no lives
Nobody's putting up a fight
I got my bell I'm gonna take you to hell

Dirk Hayhurst has announced he wonít be returning to the Blue Jays organization for 2011. However, he left an undeniable mark on the Toronto sports scene during his two years in the organization and I am sure most Blue Jays fans wonít forget Dirk Hayhurst for a long time.
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Baseball lost one of its greats yesterday, as former Cub All-Star hot cornerman Ron Santo passed on to the next plane.

I really like the way the inimitable Sean Forman of termed it: "Baseball lost a Hall of Famer (at least he is in my book) and a lifelong Cub yesterday. Our condolences to his family and to his fans."

Rest well, "other Mr. Cub."

MLB.comís Jordan Bastian is leavingthe Toronto beat to cover the Cleveland Indians. Itís a shame to lose him, as Bastian is a dedicated and intelligent writer who provided great material for the website.
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Dave Niehaus, the  one-and-only voice of the Seattle Mariners -- the team's primary broadcaster since their inception in 1977, has passed away.

There were plenty of legitimate complaints to Niehaus' style -- extreme homerism, Americanization of Latino names, stuff like that. But these were minor points compared to the voice-becoming-part-of-the-family joy Niehaus brought to the entire Pacific Northwest United States.

Rest well, David.

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Breaking news just now, via Twitter, is that the Jays have declined their options on Kevin Gregg thereby making him a free agent.

Also via Twitter from Ken Rosenthal comes news that the Jays are trying to lure Don Wakamatsu here to be the bench coach.  The Orioles are also vying for him.

Also burning up the Twitter-verse is the news that the Jays have acquired Miguel Olivo for a player to be named or cash. 

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I grew up rooting for the Detroit Tigers and the Cincinnati Reds, who produced three of the greatest teams of my lifetime -- the 1975-76 Reds and the 1984 Tigers. What did those three teams share in common? A manager of course, in George  Lee "Sparky" Anderson.

The Main Spark, as he was known in his Big Red Machine days, passed on to  the next plane today.

The owner of 2,194 lifetime regular season wins (sixth all time) and those three tiitles (in five Fall Classic appearances, was the first man to pilot teams to titles in both the AL and NL. He was 76.

RIP, Sparky. A part of my childhood goes with you.