From Strange Baseball Deaths to Deep Cuts with the Minnesota Twins
Major League baseball players certainly aren't immune from strange tragic deaths anymore than anyone else. Some of the names that pop up include Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who apparently fell off a bridge in the middle of the night near Niagara Falls in 1903. The whole story will probably never be known. Twins fans perhaps recall the shooting death of Lyman Bostock. A case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I tend to enjoy strange stories so here's a few for you.
5. Former pitcher Geremi Gonzalez was killed by a lightning strike in 2008.
4. Ex-Big League catcher Bo Diaz was adjusting his satellite dish in 1990 when it twisted and fell on him.
3. One-time Cub and Dodge pitcher Ed Morris died in one of the least likely places. He died at a party given in his honor. In 1935, his friends organized a send-off party for him in Century, Florida. Morris and one of the attendees got into a scuffle and Morris was fatally stabbed.
These final two are really strange.
2. Julian Wera was born just east of here in Rochester, Minn. He was a member of Babe Ruth's Murderers' Row, the '27 Yankees. Wera's death was strange in that he didn't die!
Here's what happened. In 1948 a man going by the name of Julian Wera was going through marriage difficulties. This man, who was working in amateur baseball in California, was found slumped over dead with a partial bottle of pills and a suicide note. Somehow the report of Wera's death reached the real Julian Wera, who was working as a butcher in Rochester. Someone was using Wera's name. Perhaps having a name like Wera would lend credibility in obtaining a job in baseball. Some thought the dead man was actually a cousin of Wera's using Julian's name. We'll probably never know who the man was that committed suicide. The real Julian Wera died in 1975.
1. How about a Major Leaguer killed by a pilot in mid-flight? It happened. In 1935 Lon Koenecke received his release from the Dodgers. He boarded a flight while drunk in Detroit bound for Buffalo. During the flight, Koenecke got into a brawl with another passenger. The pilot left the controls and tried to break up the fight. Finally in desperation, the pilot grabbed a fire extinguisher and clubbed Koenecke with it. Koenecke died from the injuries. This occurred with no pilot at the controls while flying over Toronto. Can there be a stranger way to die?
If you're ready to talk baseball, get ready. Deep Cuts with the Minnesota Twins begins this Wednesday night on AM1390. Listen at 7PM every Wednesday evening through March 30 for an hour-long discussion and update on your Minnesota Twins on KRFO.