I hate to begin the weekend on a down note, but it's my sad duty to pass along the news that Curt Motton has lost his battle with stomach cancer. He was 69 years old. I didn't know much about Curt, but this very heartfelt remembrance from Roch Kubatko's blog gave me a good sense of his character. He was by all accounts a very warm and friendly guy, known to his friends and teammates as "Cuz". Terry Crowley mentioned that Motton was a player who had "terrific" minor league numbers but was blocked by the great regulars with the Orioles in the late 1960s. Well, the Crow wasn't just whistling Dixie. Curt was a .297 hitter in the minors, peaking at .333 at Class A Stockton in 1963, after which he lost a year-plus to military service.
"Cuz" peaked in 1969, when he hit .303 with a .573 slugging percentage in limited at-bats for the American League champs. He homered six times in 89 at-bats. (The entire league batted .246 and slugged .369.) He also broke a scoreless tie with a game-winning opposite-field single in the bottom of the eleventh inning in Game Two of the 1969 ALCS.
The really astounding thing about Roch's blog post was his list of all of the 1970 World Champion Orioles who have passed away; Motton is the tenth player, and two coaches are also departed. I realize that 40 years have gone by, but that's still tough to hear. Hopefully you'll take the chance to meet some of your heroes whenever the opportunity arises. For my part, I will be at FanFest early tomorrow afternoon (11-1:15 or so); if you spot me in my "Baltimore" road jersey, come say hello. I still look a lot like my profile picture, just with a patchy beard.