Earl Battey, 68, an all-star for the Minnesota Twins who was regarded as one of baseball's best catchers during the 1960s, died of cancer Saturday in Ocala, Fla., the Twins announced Monday.
A native of Los Angeles, Battey was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago White Sox in 1953. He broke in with the Chicago White Sox in 1955 before joining the then Washington Senators in 1960, the year before they started playing in Minneapolis. Battey played on the Twins' 1965 American League championship team, batting .297 and finishing in the top 10 of the league's MVP voting.
Tough and durable, Battey ran into a neck-high crossbar in Dodger Stadium while chasing a pop foul during the third game of the 1965 World Series against the Dodgers. He could barely speak or turn his head, but played the remainder of the seven-game series, which the Dodgers won.
Battey was voted to the American League All-Star team in 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1966. He retired in 1967. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Battey topped all major-league catchers in 1962 when he threw out 24 runners and picked off 13. In 2000, Battey was chosen as the catcher for the Twins' 40th anniversary all-time team.