TIME remembrances

Major League Baseball’s First Black Latino Star Minoso Dies

In a Aug. 24, 2013 file photo, former Negro Leaguer and Chicago White Sox player Minnie Minoso stands during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers, in Chicago
David Banks—AP Minnie Minoso stands during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers in Chicago on Aug. 24, 2013

"There has never been a better ambassador for the game or for the White Sox than Minnie"

(CHICAGO) — When Minnie Minoso broke into major league baseball, the “Cuban Comet” was part of a wave of black players who changed the game forever. By the time he played in his final game 35 years ago, he was a beloved figure with the Chicago White Sox.

It was one amazing ride for the seemingly ageless slugger, who died early Sunday morning after helping clear the way for generations of minority ballplayers, including a long list of stars from his home country.

“I know we’re all going to go at some time, but I had gotten to the point where I really thought Minnie was going to live forever,” White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. “There has never been a better ambassador for the game or for the White Sox than Minnie.”

Minoso, who made his major league debut just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game’s first black Latino star, died of natural causes, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. There is some question about Minoso’s age, but the medical examiner’s office and the White Sox said he was 90.

Minoso’s death comes on the heels of the loss of Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks, who passed away on Jan. 23 at age 83.

“For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile, and he would want us all to remember him that way, smiling at a ballgame,” Minoso’s family said in a statement released by the team. “As he so often said, ‘God Bless you, my friends.'”

Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.

For Minoso’s many admirers, his absence from the Hall of Fame remains a sore spot. President Barack Obama, a longtime White Sox fan, praised Minoso for his speed, power and “resilient optimism” while helping integrate baseball in the 1950s.

“Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie’s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could,” Obama said.

Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became major league baseball’s first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.

It was the dawn of a long relationship between the slugger and the White Sox.

Minoso, a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field, is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who hired him as a team ambassador after his playing career and repeatedly lobbied for his inclusion in Cooperstown.

“I think that everybody has to respect his legacy because he did so much for the Latin players, for the Cubans, for everybody because when he arrived here it was a tough time because of racism and discrimination,” said White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, another Cuban star. “He wrote a huge legacy for all of us.”

Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball’s career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.

Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never come close to making it to the Hall. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers’ ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.

“My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys,” Minoso said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. “I want to be there. This is my life’s dream.”

Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.

Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, he never played in the postseason.

“He gave you 100 percent at all times,” former teammate Billy Pierce said. “You have to rate him with the better ballplayers of all time.”

Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.

It was Minoso’s first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs.

“I have baseball in my blood,” Minoso said. “Baseball is all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

TIME Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy’s Life in Memorium

Live long and prosper

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock on Star Trek, died Friday. He was 83 and had lung disease. “I loved him like a brother,” said William Shatner, who starred alongside Nimoy as Captain Kirk. “We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.”

Watch his life in memorium above.

TIME Rememberance

Former Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh Dies at 97

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo
Joe Raymond—AP Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 24, 2007

A champion of human rights, Hesburgh transformed Notre Dame into a premier academic institution

(South Bend, Ind.) — The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as football and who championed human rights around the globe, has died. He was 97.

University spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press that Hesburgh died on the South Bend, Indiana, campus around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, he said.

“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” said the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president. “With his leadership, charisma and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.”

Hesburgh spent 35 years at the Notre Dame helm, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top Catholic educators. But the man known simply as Father Ted to the thousands who attended the school while he was president from 1952 to 1987 was perhaps even more recognized for his work around the world on issues such as civil rights, immigration, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and Third World development.

That work often took him far from campus — including Washington, Moscow and El Salvador — as he advised popes and presidents, at times challenging their policies. His aim was constant: Better people’s lives.

“I go back to an old Latin motto, opus justitiae pax: Peace is the work of justice,” Hesburgh said in a 2001 interview. “We’ve known 20 percent of the people in the world have 80 percent of the goodies, which means the other 80 percent have to scrape by on 20 percent.”

Hesburgh, who grew up in Syracuse, New York, was a charming and personable man who found as much ease meeting with heads of state as he did with students. His goal after coming out of seminary was to be a Navy chaplain during World War II, but he instead was sent to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., to pursue a doctorate, which he received in 1945. He joined the Notre Dame faculty that same year.

His star rose quickly. Hesburgh was named head of the Department of Theology in 1948 and became the university’s executive vice president a year later. He took over as president in 1952 at age 35.

His passion for civil rights earned him a spot as a founding member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1957 and found him joining hands with Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago, singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Hesburgh was a man who wasn’t afraid to challenge authority. As Notre Dame’s executive vice president in 1949, he took on powerful football coach Frank Leahy while reorganizing the athletic department. When the Vatican demanded conformity to church dogma, Hesburgh insisted that Notre Dame remain an intellectual center for theological debate. He also famously challenged the civil rights record of President Richard Nixon, who fired him from the Civil Rights Commission in 1972.

“I said, ‘I ended this job the way that I began 15 years ago — fired with enthusiasm,'” Hesburgh said in 2007.

Hesburgh’s relationship with other presidents was smoother. He received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and later served on President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board, charged with deciding the fate of various Vietnam offenders. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton hailed Hesburgh as “a servant and a child of God, a genuine American patriot and a citizen of the world” as he bestowed upon him the government’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Hesburgh wrote several books, including one, “God, Country, Notre Dame,” that became a best-seller. Throughout his writings, he shared his vision of the contemporary Catholic university.

“The Catholic university should be a place,” he wrote, “where all the great questions are asked, where an exciting conversation is continually in progress, where the mind constantly grows as the values and powers of intelligence and wisdom are cherished and exercised in full freedom.”

In keeping with that philosophy, Notre Dame underwent profound changes under Hesburgh. Control of the school shifted in 1967 from the Congregation of the Holy Cross priests who founded the school to a lay board. The school ended a 40-year absence in football post-season bowl games and used the proceeds from the 1970 Cotton Bowl to fund minority scholarships. In 1972, Notre Dame admitted its first undergraduate women. Hesburgh called it one of his proudest accomplishments.

Hesburgh’s ambitions helped mold the university. The school was rather undistinguished academically when he became president. It had 4,979 students, 389 faculty and an annual operating budget of $9.7 million. When he retired in 1987, Notre Dame had 9,600 students, 950 faculty and an operating budget of $176.6 million. The school’s endowment grew from $9 million to $350 million during his presidency. When he retired, the school was rated among the nation’s most prestigious.

“I’m sure I get credit for a lot of things that I’m part of but not necessarily the whole of,” he said. “We began a great university and those who followed continued the motion forward.”

Hesburgh’s work earned him the cover of Time magazine in a 1962 article that described him as the most influential figure in the reshaping of Catholic education. He was granted 150 honorary degrees during his lifetime.

Despite the accolades, Hesburgh drew his share of criticism. Some said he spent too much time away from campus pursuing other issues. Others objected to the “15-minute rule” he implemented after students protesting the Vietnam War clashed with police on campus. Under the policy, students who disrupted the university’s normal operations would be given 15 minutes of meditation to cease and desist or would be expelled from school.

As a young priest, Hesburgh’s students included Jose Napoleon Duarte, whose 1984 election as El Salvador’s president set that country on a path to democracy after years of civil war. Hesburgh’s decision to have Duarte give Notre Dame’s 1985 commencement address was met by protests blaming Duarte and the Reagan administration for continued political killings and poverty in the Central American nation. Hesburgh wrote that the presentation of an honorary degree to Duarte didn’t mean the university has to agree with all he was doing.

Hesburgh also supported the university’s decision in 2009 to invite President Barack Obama to speak at commencement. At least 70 bishops opposed Obama’s appearance and Notre Dame’s decision to award him an honorary degree because of the president’s support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research. Hesburgh said universities are supposed to be places where people of differing opinions can talk.

Through it all, he stayed true to what he called his basic principle: “You don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

Hesburgh remained active at Notre Dame in his retirement, lecturing occasionally, presiding over residence hall Masses and helping develop the school’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Most of all, though, he was a priest. He said Mass daily throughout his life.

“I’ve said Mass in airplanes at 50,000 feet. I’ve said Mass in the South Pole. I’ve said Mass in jungles all over the world. I’ve said Mass in African huts. I’ve said Mass in cathedrals. Wherever I am, I’ve been able to do it for over 60 years every day and only miss a couple of times in all those years,” Hesburgh said.

Jenkins, the current president, said Hesburgh’s greatest influence may have been on the generations of Notre Dame students he taught, counseled and befriended.

“Although saddened by his loss, I cherish the memory of a mentor, friend and brother in Holy Cross and am consoled that he is now at peace with the God he served so well,” Jenkins said.

The university said that a customary Holy Cross funeral Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus at a time to be announced. The university also said a tribute to Hesburgh will be held at the Joyce Center.

TIME remembrance

First Black NBA Player Earl Lloyd Passes Away Aged 86

Earl Lloyd
Edward Kitch—AP Earl Lloyd, Oct. 30, 1972.

The Virginia native was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003

Earl Lloyd, the first black professional NBA player, passed away Thursday at the age of 86.

Known as “the Big Cat,” the 6’5″ forward made his league debut in October 1950, playing for the Washington Capitals. During his legendary career, Lloyd averaged 8.4 points during 560 regular-season NBA games.

Lloyd was also twice included in the CIAA All-America team and was three-time all-conference selection. Lloyd retired in 1960, after serving in the U.S. army, playing for the Detroit Pistons and winning the 1955 NBA championship for the Syracuse Nationals. He was also the NBA’s first black assistant coach in 1968 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Born in Alexandria, Va., Lloyd is survived by a wife and three sons.

[Charleston Gazette]

TIME Television

Parks and Rec Co-Producer Harris Wittels Has Died, Aged 30

The cause of death has not been confirmed, but police responded to a 911 call about a possible drug overdose

Harris Wittels, a co-executive producer and writer on Parks and Recreation, was found dead in his home in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The 30-year-old was discovered by his assistant around 12 p.m. on Thursday, and police subsequently responded to a 911 call about a possible drug overdose, writes the Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, however.

In addition to writing and producing Parks and Rec, which airs its series finale next week, Wittels had a small on-screen role, playing an employee from the animal-control department.

He also worked on series such as Eastbound and Down and The Sarah Silverman Program, was a stand-up comedian and is credited with coining the term “humblebrag,” meaning a boast disguised as modesty.

Tributes to the young writer-comedian poured onto Twitter.

[THR]

TIME golf

U.S. Golfer and Civil Rights Pioneer Charlie Sifford Dies at 92

Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014
Mark Duncan—AP Former PGA golfer Charlie Sifford sits in the dining room of his home in Brecksville, Ohio on Nov. 13, 2014.

He forced the desegregation of professional golf

Dr. Charles L. “Charlie” Sifford, a man who achieved great success on the golf course but made a much larger impact off of it, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 92, the PGA Tour of America confirmed.

Born in 1922, the Charlotte, N.C. native is often called golf’s Jackie Robinson. His challenge to the PGA’s “Caucasian-only” membership clause forced the desegregation of professional golf in 1961.

“By his courage, Dr. Sifford inspired others to follow their dreams. The PGA of America extends its thoughts and prayers to Dr. Sifford’s family. Golf was fortunate to have had this exceptional American in our midst,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague.

On the Tour, Sifford won the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969 and was champion of the Seniors Championship in 1975. He was also a six-time winner of what was known as the Negro Open.

Sifford once met Jackie Robinson — the first black player in Major League Baseball — and described their conversation in his autobiography Just Let Me Play.

He wrote, “[Robinson] asked me if I was a quitter, I told him no. He said, ‘If you’re not a quitter, you’re probably going to experience some things that will make you want to quit’.”

In 2014 Sifford became the third golfer (Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer being the other two) to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can receive. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

TIME remembrance

Rooster Teeth Animator Monty Oum Dead at 33

24th Annual Producers Guild Awards - Red Carpet
Jeff Vespa—WireImage/Getty Images Animator Monty Oum arrives at the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 26, 2013 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Austin native was the show creator and animator for the popular series RWBY

Rooster Teeth animator and show creator Monty Oum died at the age of 33 on Sunday from complications stemming from a medical procedure, the company announced on its website.

“As for honoring Monty, we will do that in our own way. In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative. Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can,” the firm said in a statement.

After his hospitalization, a public fund was set up to support Oum, which has now raised almost $210,000. Rooster Teeth said the money will go toward supporting his family.

Oum was best known as the creator of the animated series RWBY, which follows a team of heroes who use an element called “Dust” to battle supernatural forces. The first episode has nearly 4 million views on YouTube.

Rooster Teeth is a growing production studio based out of Austin that focuses on live-action shorts and animation.

TIME Chemistry

The Chemist Who Helped Develop the Pill Has Died

Carl Djerassi
Boris Roessler—AP Scientist and patron of the arts Carl Djerassi sits during an interview with the DPA German Press Agency at the university in Frankfurt Main, Germany, 29 October 2013.

His scientific work led to the world's first oral contraceptive in 1952

Carl Djerassi, a 91-year-old Stanford chemist who helped to develop the birth control pill, passed away from cancer Friday in San Francisco.

Djerassi’s scientific work led to the world’s first oral contraceptive in 1952, which gave women the option to control pregnancies. He developed a synthetic molecule called norethindrone, the effects of which simulated, in stronger form, those of progesterone. For his work, he earned an induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and received the presidential National Medal of Science, which only a few hundred scientists have received since its creation.

“Carl was interested particularly in individual freedom and self-determination, and believed that all of us, women included, should have that opportunity,” said Dr. Philip Darney, the director of UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. “He saw birth control and access to abortion as agents of that opportunity.”

Djerassi, a polymath, penned three biographies The Pill, Pygmy Chimps and Degas’ Horse, In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen and This Man’s Pill, and founded a free art residency program called the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, funded by earnings from the birth control pill.

[SF Gate]

TIME obituary

Outrage After Top Female Author Called ‘Overweight’ and ‘Plain’ in Obituary

Peter Carrette Archive Collection
Peter Carrette Archive—Getty Images Australian author Colleen McCullough in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Aug. 31, 2000 in Sydney, Australia

Australian author Colleen McCullough, 77, did not receive the laurels she was due by one newspaper

Acclaimed Thorn Birds author Colleen McCullough, who died Wednesday at the age of 77, received a detailed obituary Thursday in the Australian newspaper, which chose to honor her passing by describing her as “plain of feature” and “certainly overweight.”

Despite penning the highest-selling novel in Australia’s history, McCullough’s obituary opened with disparaging remarks on her appearance. This prompted fans to vent fury via Twitter at the sexist characterization of the author’s life and grave oversight of her career accomplishments, including teaching at Yale Medical School and writing a novel selling over 30 million copies around the world.

TIME celebrities

La Dolce Vita Star Anita Ekberg Dies at 83

Anita Ekberg, the stunning actress who starred in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita, died Sunday morning at the age of 83.

The Swedish-Italian film icon died in Rocca di Papa, a small town southeast of Rome, due to complications from a longtime illness, the New York Times reported. Ekberg had recently been hospitalized.

Ekberg, known for her sensuality and beauty, rose to global fame after years of small film and TV roles and modeling when Fellini cast her as a Marilyn Monroe-type American actress who visits Rome, in 1960’s La Dolce Vita. The classic scene in which her character dances in Rome’s Trevi fountain before a thunderstruck Marcello Mastroianni soon became one of cinema’s most celebrated images.

Ekberg starred in over 40 films and won the 1956 Golden Globe for most promising newcomer — a now-defunct award category — which she shared with Victoria Shaw and Dana Wynter. That year, Ekberg starred alongside Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda in King Vidor’s War and Peace, following a small role in the film Blood Alley the year before.

[NYT]

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