Johnny Blanchard, a Yankee from 1955-65, passed away today. He was 76.
Blanchard played in five World Series, helping the Yankees win two of them. He was an outfielder and catcher.
The Yankees also lost Arthur Richman, the team’s senior advisor of media relations. A colorful character who was around baseball nearly all his life, Richman was primarily a sports columnist who had close relationships with players like Joe DiMaggio and Don Larsen.
Richman also became close to George Steinbrenner and it was at his suggestion that the Yankees hired Joe Torre as manager.
The Yankees will have statements regarding these men and I will pass those along when they become available.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: Here’s the first release:
NEW YORK YANKEES ANNOUNCE PASSING OF LONGTIME BASEBALL AMBASSADOR ARTHUR RICHMAN
It is with deep sadness that the New York Yankees announce the passing of longtime baseball writer and executive Arthur Richman. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in New York City early this morning with his wife, Martha Richman, and friends by his side. He was 83 years old.
Mr. Richman’s baseball career spanned seven decades, including stops as an executive with the New York Mets and most recently the New York Yankees. He began his career in 1942 as a copy boy at the New York Daily Mirror and worked there for 21 years, authoring one of New York’s most popular columns, “The Armchair Manager.”
The Mirror folded in 1963, and Mr. Richman quickly took a position in the front office of the New York Mets, where he worked for 25 years. In 1989, Mr. Richman went to work for the Yankees, holding the positions of Senior Vice President and Senior Advisor in the club’s media relations department for nearly two decades.
“Arthur Richman made baseball and the New York Yankees an enormous part of his life, and I am grateful for his contributions both personally and professionally,” Yankees Principal Owner/Chairperson George M. Steinbrenner said. “He was a trusted friend and advisor to me, and someone the world of baseball will find impossible to replace. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Martha and to the countless others who were fortunate enough to call him a friend.”
Services will be held on Thursday, March 26 at 11:45 a.m. at Riverside Memorial Chapel on 180 W. 76th Street in New York City. He is survived by his wife, Martha. Mr. Richman was predeceased by his brother Milton — an award winning sportswriter and editor for United Press International.
The family asks that any memorial gifts be sent in Arthur’s name to the “Catch 25 Foundation,” established by New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi. Donations will be dedicated specifically towards the area of the foundation that focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease research and support.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.joegirardi.com. Donations can be sent to Catch 25 Foundation, 220 West Huron, Suite 2001, Chicago, IL, 60654.
UPDATE, 4:58 p.m.: This from the Yankees on Johnny Blanchard:
NEW YORK YANKEES REFLECT ON THE PASSING OF FORMER PLAYER JOHNNY BLANCHARD
Former Yankee Johnny Blanchard passed away this morning at the age of 76 in Minnesota. Signed by the Yankees in 1951, Blanchard made his Major League debut with the club in 1955 at the age of 22. In total, he appeared in 454 games in pinstripes over eight Major League seasons (1955, ’59-65), batting .245 (260-for-1,063) with 34 doubles, 64 home runs and 187 RBI, seeing time as a catcher, first baseman and outfielder. He is one of four players in franchise history to hit a home run in four consecutive at-bats, accomplishing the feat over three games from July 21-26, 1961.
A member of five American League pennant-winning teams from 1960-64 with the Yankees, Blanchard played on World Series championship teams in 1961 and 1962. In five World Series, he batted .345 (10-for-29) with six runs, four doubles, two home runs and five RBI. During the 1961 Fall Classic vs. Cincinnati, he combined to go 4-for-10, including an eighth-inning game-tying solo homer in Game 3 and a two-run homer in the Game-5 Series clincher.
REFLECTIONS FROM TEAMMATES AND MANAGERS
Yogi Berra: “This is a sad day. Johnny was a good friend and a great teammate. He was proud of being a Yankee and always fun to be around. We’ll miss him.”
Moose Skowron: “He was a great guy. He loved people and did a lot for charity. I’ll never forget the year Yogi, Elston and Blanch all hit over 20 homers. He was a key member of that 1961 team and had two clutch homers for us against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. I remember we were both signed by the same scout, Joe McDermott. I felt a lot of pride knowing that. He will be missed.”
Bobby Richardson: “He was a great teammate, friend and a true gentleman. He loved the game. Tony Kubek and I were just in New York and spent some time with Johnny. He was a great friend and I’ll miss him tremendously.”
Bob Turley: “Johnny was a funny guy and a great storyteller. He was always happy. Everyone loved him and loved being around him. He was one heck of a hitter, too.”
Ralph Houk: “Johnny was a true Yankee, there’s no doubt about that. Everyone liked him. He would do anything it took to help win a ballgame. He would catch, pinch-hit or go play the outfield if it meant the team had a better chance to win.”