It took more than the Ted Williams, Stan Musials, Duke Sniders, Mickey Mantles, and Willie Mays of the world to make the 1950s a golden-era for baseball. “The Show” could not have gone on without the less-talented, the utility guys, the players to be named later. Guys with names like Hobie Landrith, Wayne Terwilliger, Joe Ginsberg, and Sammy Esposito. They too serve who only hit .207 and play in 30 games.
Young fans of the “Game of the Week” with Dizzy Dean and collectors of baseball cards during that idyllic decade remember these C-list spear-carriers. One of my favorites from this lot was Rocky Bridges. Bridges managed to stay in the major leagues for 11 years on minimal talent. He stayed in the game long after his playing days, coaching in the bigs for a few years and managing in the minor leagues for a few decades.
Word has just reached me that Rocky Bridges (and isn’t that a great baseball name?) died January 27 morning of natural causes in his adopted home of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 87 and is survived by two sons, a daughter, and a brace of grandchildren. His wife, Mary, died in 2008.