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OBITUARIES : Gerry Staley, 1920 - 2008

Three-time All-Star pitcher

January 06, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gerry Staley, a three-time All-Star pitcher who was a key reliever for the 1959 Chicago White Sox team that lost to the Dodgers in the World Series, has died. He was 87.

Staley died Wednesday of natural causes at his home in Hazel Dell, Wash., his son, Brian, told the Associated Press.

The right-hander pitched for six teams during a 15-year career that lasted from 1947 to '61. He compiled a win-loss record of 134-111 and had a 3.70 earned-run average.

Staley went 8-5 with 14 saves and a 2.24 ERA in 1959. He came out of the bullpen to pitch in four World Series games, tossing 8 1/3 innings with a 2.16 ERA as the White Sox lost to the Dodgers in six games. He gave up the game-winning home run to Gil Hodges in the eighth inning of Game 4 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Staley led the American League that season by pitching in 67 games. The next year, he went 13-8 with 10 saves and was named to the American League All-Star team.

"I played in an era when there were a heck of a lot of good ballplayers," he said in 2005. "You can't single out one over all the rest. If you kept the ball in the park, you were doing a good deed."

Staley broke into the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1947 and, as a starter, compiled 54 wins from 1951 to 1953. He was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1952 and 1953 and is one of the few pitchers to make All-Star teams as both a starter and a reliever.

After pitching for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees, he landed with the White Sox in 1956 and soon became a full-time reliever.

Gerald Lee Staley was born in Brush Prairie, Wash., on Aug. 21, 1920. He played in the minors and served in World War II with an Army evacuation hospital unit in the South Pacific.

After his baseball career ended in 1961, Staley returned to Washington state and was superintendent of the Clark County Parks and Recreation Department for 17 years.

Staley spent his later years tending to his garden and fishing for steelhead. He was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, the Clark County Hall of Fame and the Washington State Horseshoe Pitchers Hall of Fame. "He had to find something to pitch after baseball," Brian Staley said.

Staley is also survived by a daughter.

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