|Former major league pitcher Don Cardwell dies at 72|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 14 January 2008 16:09|
Cremations. The cause of death was not immediately known.
``He was a tremendous mentor to the young guys on our staff,'' Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver said in a statement through team spokesman Jay Horwitz. ``When he said something, you listened. He was the ultimate professional on and off the field. Just a tremendous, tremendous guy - and a big part of everything we accomplished that year.''
Cardwell pitched for five major league teams from 1957-70. He finished 102-138 with a 3.92 ERA and 1,211 strikeouts. He threw 17 shutouts, earned seven saves - and hit 15 home runs.
The right-hander was 8-10 with a 3.01 ERA for the Miracle Mets in '69. He pitched in 30 games, making 21 starts.
``I just remember him as one of the real tough guys who had a great second half in 1969,'' Mets teammate Ron Swoboda said. ``Just old-school, man. He was old school back then!''
After beginning his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cardwell was traded to the Chicago Cubs in May 1960. Two days after the deal, he tossed a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardwell's best season with the Cubs was 1961, when he went 15-14 with a 3.82 ERA and a career-high 156 strikeouts. He was traded to the Cardinals the following year, but was dealt to Pittsburgh a month later without ever pitching for St. Louis.
He spent 1963-66 with the Pirates, going 13-10 with a 3.18 ERA in 1965, before he was traded to the Mets in December 1966. In 1969, he was part of a New York rotation that included Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry. Cardwell pitched one inning in the '69 World Series as the Mets upset the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
``He was a three-quarter-arm guy with a real good sinker, slider. Hard stuff,'' Swoboda said. ``I remember hitting off him before we got him from Pittsburgh and you really had to convince yourself from the right-hand side to stay in there against him.''
And Cardwell could hit, too.
``He wasn't just a guy up there who occasionally made contact,'' Swoboda said. ``He was a good hitter. He helped himself a lot.''
Swoboda remembers Cardwell sticking up for his teammates during a fight with Houston in 1969 and dropping Astros third baseman Doug Rader with one powerful punch.
``I think it helps calm you down when you've got a guy like that who's ready to do what it takes,'' Swoboda said. ``When it got to fist city you needed some guys that were ready to go.''
Cardwell ended his career with the Atlanta Braves in 1970. His friends said he had been struggling with his health lately.
``We need more Don Cardwells in the world,'' said Junie Michael, who worked with Cardwell selling cars for more than 35 years. ``I just can't say enough about what a positive influence he was on our community.
``I've never met a better guy in my whole life,'' Michael added.
Cardwell also was an outstanding golfer, playing on a celebrity tour in the 1980s, according to Michael. Survivors include his wife, Sylvia; three children, five grandchildren and three sisters.
Following a private family graveside service, a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17.