MLB Players Who Died in 2023

MLB-Players-Who-Died-in-2023

The baseball community mourns the loss of several prominent figures in Major League Baseball (MLB) as we reflect on the year 2023. These individuals, who once graced the diamond with their exceptional skills and passion for the game, have left an indelible mark on the sport. In this article, we pay tribute to the lives and legacies of these baseball players who died, each contributing to the rich tapestry of baseball history.

From seasoned veterans to rising stars, their journeys were filled with triumphs, challenges, and moments that will forever be etched in the memories of fans. Join us as we remember and celebrate the lives of these baseball legends who, in their own unique ways, shaped the landscape of America’s favorite pastime.

Nate Colbert

Nate Colbert Jr., born on April 9, 1946, in St. Louis, Missouri, was an esteemed American professional baseball player, primarily recognized for his role as a first baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1966 to 1976. Colbert notably played six seasons with the San Diego Padres, contributing to the team’s early years as an expansion franchise. His achievements included three All-Star selections, and as of 2022, he held the Padres’ career record for home runs (163) and ranked prominently in various offensive categories.

Nate Colbert

Despite his impressive career, a back injury prematurely ended Colbert’s playing days after ten seasons. Post-retirement, he transitioned to coaching in the minor leagues, serving as a hitting instructor for the Padres and coaching various teams. Colbert also pursued ministry, becoming an ordained minister and working with disadvantaged youth.

Nate Colbert passed away on January 5, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 76. The cause of his death is not specified in the available information.

Tim McCarver

Tim McCarver, born on October 16, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee, was a distinguished American professional baseball catcher, renowned television sports commentator, and accomplished singer. His MLB career spanned from 1959 to 1980, notably with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. McCarver, a two-time All-Star, played a pivotal role in the Cardinals’ 1964 World Series triumph, showcasing exceptional batting skills.

Tim McCarver

Transitioning to broadcasting post-retirement, McCarver set records with 23 World Series calls and 20 All-Star Games for Fox Sports, earning three Emmy Awards. Inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2016 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2017, he received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2012.

McCarver, who caught 121 shutouts during his playing career, later became a part-time analyst for the Cardinals on Fox Sports Midwest. He hosted “The Tim McCarver Show” and released a jazz standards cover album in 2009. Tim McCarver passed away from heart failure in Memphis on February 16, 2023, at the age of 81.

Joe Pepitone

Joe Pepitone, born on October 9, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, was an accomplished American professional baseball first baseman and outfielder. His MLB career from 1962 to 1973 included stints with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves, earning him three MLB All-Star selections and three Gold Glove Awards.

Joe Pepitone

Pepitone’s baseball journey began with the New York Yankees in 1962, succeeding Moose Skowron at first base. Despite notable contributions, he faced challenges and feuds with the Yankees in 1969, eventually traded to the Houston Astros. Pepitone’s later career included stints with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before briefly playing in Japan for the Yakult Atoms in 1973.

Beyond baseball, Pepitone garnered attention for his memoir “Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud” and a brief stint in professional softball. He later served as an MLB coach for the New York Yankees. Joe Pepitone passed away at the age of 82 on March 13, 2023, at his home in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dick Groat

Dick Groat, born November 4, 1930, was a celebrated figure in American sports, excelling in both professional baseball and basketball. As an eight-time MLB All-Star shortstop, Groat secured two World Series championships and earned the National League Most Valuable Player title in 1960 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dick Groat

Groat’s athletic journey began at Duke University, where he was a standout two-sport star, receiving All-American honors in basketball and leading the Blue Devils to their first College World Series in baseball. Transitioning to the MLB, he debuted with the Pirates in 1952, forming a legendary keystone combination with Bill Mazeroski.

Beyond his playing career, Groat contributed to Pittsburgh Panthers men’s basketball as a radio color analyst for 40 seasons. He also ventured into golf, co-designing Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Dick Groat, the great-uncle of golfer Brooks Koepka, passed away at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh on April 27, 2023, at the age of 92, succumbing to complications from a stroke suffered a week prior.

Vida Blue

Vida Rochelle Blue Jr. left an indelible mark on Major League Baseball during his prolific career from 1969 to 1986. Renowned as a prominent left-handed pitcher, Blue contributed immensely to the Oakland Athletics dynasty that secured three consecutive World Series titles from 1972 to 1974. His phenomenal 1971 season earned him the coveted Cy Young and MVP awards in recognition of his dominance, featuring a blazing fastball and impeccable control. A 6-time All-Star, Blue played for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals over his decade-and-a-half career. Despite conflicts with management and injury issues in later years, he cemented his legacy across World Series championships and All-Star accolades.

Vida Blue

Off the field, Blue engaged actively in charity work benefiting various causes, especially children’s wellbeing. He later worked in sports broadcasting and resided primarily in California, maintaining close ties to the baseball community. Tragically, Blue passed away on May 6, 2023 at age 73 owing to medical complications related to a battle with cancer. His death marked the end of a glorious playing career and a baseball life devoted to excellence on the mound and generosity off it.

George Frazier

George Allen Frazier, born on 13 October, 1954, had a notable career as an American professional baseball pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1978 to 1987. Beginning his journey at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Missouri, Frazier earned a college scholarship at the University of Oklahoma, contributing to their 1975 and 1976 College World Series teams. He was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977. Frazier faced highs and lows in the postseason, including his involvement in the Yankees’ 1981 World Series journey and a victorious 1987 World Series with the Minnesota Twins.

George Frazier

Throughout his ten-year career, Frazier appeared in 415 games, securing 35 wins, 29 saves, and a 4.20 ERA. Post-playing, he became a color analyst for the Twins and the Colorado Rockies. Tragically, George Frazier passed away in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19, 2023, at the age of 68, leaving behind a legacy in baseball and broadcasting.

Ken Suarez

Kenneth Raymond Suarez, born on April 12, 1943, was an American professional baseball player, renowned for his career as a catcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1966 to 1973. Suarez, a Tampa, Florida native, excelled in his early years at Jesuit High School and later showcased his talent at Florida State University, earning a First Team All-American title in 1964. Signing with the Kansas City Athletics, Suarez started his professional career, displaying his defensive prowess and contributing offensively.

Ken Suarez

His MLB journey continued with the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers. Suarez faced challenges negotiating a raise with the Rangers, leading to a trade and subsequent retirement. Notably, he broke up a Jim Palmer perfect game in 1973. After earning $20,000 that year, Suarez sought a raise but ended up becoming the first Rangers player to submit a contract to arbitration.

Post-baseball, Suarez worked in aviation and radio, residing in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife. Kenneth Raymond Suarez passed away on July 29, 2023, at the age of 80. The details surrounding his death, including the cause, are not provided in the available information.

Alex Cole

Alexander Cole Jr., born on 17 August 1965, was a prominent American professional baseball outfielder, known for his speed and stolen base prowess. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, Cole made his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1990, showcasing his remarkable speed by stealing five bases in a single game. His swift base-running prompted the Indians to adjust the outfield walls in 1991. After stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the inaugural Colorado Rockies team in 1993, Cole played two years with the Minnesota Twins.

Alex Cole

He later joined the Boston Red Sox but spent most of the 1996 season in their AAA squad. Following his MLB career, Cole played in the independent minor leagues, including the Northern League, Mexican League, and three years with the Bridgeport Bluefish.

Notably, Alexander Cole Jr. became part of a somber statistic, joining the list of MLB players who died during their career. In 2002, Cole faced legal troubles, pleading guilty to conspiring to possess heroin with intent to distribute, resulting in an 18-month federal prison sentence. Tragically, he passed away on August 19, 2023, at the age of 58.

Brooks Robinson

Brooks Calbert Robinson Jr. (May 18, 1937 – September 26, 2023) was an iconic American baseball player who spent his entire 23-season MLB career as a third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 to 1977. Nicknamed “Mr. Hoover” and “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” he’s hailed as the greatest defensive third baseman in MLB history. Robinson, an 18-time All-Star, garnered 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, setting a record for position players. His 2,870 games at third base remain the most in MLB history at a single position. Robinson played a pivotal role in the Orioles’ success, winning four AL pennants and two World Series titles between 1965 and 1974.

brooks robinson

Post-retirement, he became a beloved Orioles broadcaster and part owner of minor league teams. Robinson’s off-field endeavors included business ventures, broadcasting, and philanthropy. Despite health challenges, including prostate cancer, surgeries, and infections, Robinson’s enduring impact on baseball and Baltimore remained significant. He passed away at age 86 on September 26, 2023, due to heart disease, leaving an indelible legacy both on and off the field.

Tim Wakefield

Timothy Stephen Wakefield, born on August 2, 1966, in Melbourne, Florida, was an American professional baseball knuckleball pitcher renowned for his 17-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox. Graduating from Eau Gallie High School and the Florida Institute of Technology, where he excelled as a college baseball player, Wakefield embarked on his MLB journey.

Tim Wakefield

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988, Wakefield initially played as a first baseman. However, following a scout’s advice, he developed the knuckleball, which defined his career. Joining the Red Sox in 1995, he became a dependable starter, earning accolades such as the Sporting News American League Comeback Player of the Year in 1995 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010.

His playing style featured a knuckleball with significant variance, complemented by a fastball and curveball. Wakefield’s longevity allowed him to achieve milestones, including the oldest Red Sox pitcher to pitch a complete game at 42.

Tragically, on October 1, 2023, at the age of 57, Wakefield, like other baseball players who died of brain cancer, passed away at his Massachusetts home due to a seizure resulting from brain cancer, a diagnosis revealed without authorization by former teammate Curt Schilling.

Willie Hernández

Guillermo “Willie” Hernández Villanueva, born November 14, 1954, in Aguada, Puerto Rico, achieved baseball acclaim as a relief pitcher. His notable career saw him start with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1973 before becoming a standout reliever for the Chicago Cubs. Traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983, he contributed to their National League pennant win. The pinnacle arrived in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers, where he secured 32 saves, a 1.92 ERA, and both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards, leading the Tigers to a World Series triumph.

Willie Hernández

Post-1984, Hernández faced criticism, retiring in 1989 after his tenure with the Tigers. His 13-season career comprised 744 games, primarily as a reliever, amassing 147 saves. Post-retirement, he ventured into business, owning a steel construction business and later operating a cattle ranch in Puerto Rico. Battling health issues, including asthma, diabetes, and strokes, Hernández passed away at home in Sebring, Florida, on November 20, 2023, at 69, leaving a lasting baseball legacy.

Rob Belloir

Robert Edward Belloir, born on July 13, 1948, in Heidelberg, Germany, made his mark as the 25th German-born player in Major League Baseball. While attending Southwest High School in Atlanta, he showcased his athleticism in multiple sports, eventually earning a degree in English from Mercer University in 1970.

Rob Belloir

Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1969, Belloir spent five and a half seasons in the majors, batting .233 with three home runs. His baseball career was interrupted by a two-year stint in the United States Army, including a deployment to Vietnam.

Returning to baseball, he joined the Atlanta Braves in a trade, making his major-league debut in 1975. Belloir’s initial success, including a notable 4-for-4 game, was followed by a season-ending average of .219. He played with the Braves and their Triple-A affiliate before being inducted into the Mercer University Hall of Fame in 1981. On November 13, 2023, Rob Belloir passed away at the age of 75, marking the end of a life intertwined with baseball excellence.

Dave Wehrmeister

David Thomas Wehrmeister, born on November 9, 1952, was an American Major League Baseball pitcher who played in the majors from 1976 to 1985. Attending Lyons Township High School, he excelled in baseball, ultimately becoming the San Diego Padres’ first-round pick in the 1973 MLB Draft. Wehrmeister debuted with the Padres in 1976 and later played for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

Dave Wehrmeister

In 1985, after becoming a free agent, he signed with the Chicago White Sox, achieving his best statistical season with an ERA of 3.43, four wins, and two saves. Following his MLB career, Wehrmeister played one more season in the minor leagues with the Buffalo Bisons in 1986 before retiring.

On December 6, 2023, at the age of 71, David Thomas Wehrmeister tragically passed away in Walnut Creek, California, leaving behind a legacy in the world of baseball.

Final Verdict

In bidding farewell to these cherished MLB legends, we not only commemorate their extraordinary contributions on the field but also recognize the enduring impact they had on fans and the baseball community at large. Their stories, etched in the annals of the sport’s history, serve as an inspiration for future generations.

As we reflect on the year 2023 and the void left by their passing, we celebrate the indomitable spirit and passion that defined their careers. In honoring their memory, we acknowledge the profound influence these players had in shaping the beloved game of baseball for decades to come.


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