Baseball player Roger Craig, an original New York Met and former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger who was part of four World Series visiting lineups and who coached the San Francisco Giants to a National League championship in 1989, died Sunday. He was 93.
Born in Durham, North Carolina, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers' farm club system in the 1950s before making his debut with the team in July 1955. That year, the Dodgers won the Series, beating the New York Yankees in seven games.
As an original member of the New York Mets in 1962, he was the pitcher in the team's first game, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals, a team he had played for a few years earlier as a relief pitcher.
After retiring as a player in 1966, he became a coach for a minor-league team in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before rising to coaching stints with the San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers before becoming skipper of the San Francisco Giants in September 1985.
A statement Sunday from the Giants praised Craig's eight-season run through 1992, noting the team's division championships in 1987 and 1989 and pennant run in 1989. He won 586 games, sixth-most in team history and third-most in San Francisco Giants history, and his 1,152 games place him sixth in team history behind John McGraw, Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker, Bill Terry and Leo Durocher.
"We have lost a legendary member of our Giants family," team president and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement Sunday.
"Roger was beloved by players, coaches, front office staff and fans. He was a father figure to many and his optimism and wisdom resulted in some of the most memorable seasons in our history. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Carolyn, his four children, Sherri Paschelke, Roger Craig Jr., Teresa Hanvey and Vikki Dancan, his seven grandchildren, his 14 great-grandchildren as well as his extended family and friends."
George Kelly can be reached at email@example.com