Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Memoriam, 2011

     We Chicago sports fans lost some noteworthy performers this year. Heading the list were Chicago Cardinals Hall of Famer Ollie Matson, former Bears safety Dave Duerson, former White Sox skipper Chuck Tanner, former Northwestern and Bears receiver Jim Keane, and former Cubs pitcher Bob Rush.
     Blackhawks alumni Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev were among 44 people who perished when a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, of which the two were members, crashed upon takeoff near Yaroslavl, Russia, on September 7.

Below is a list of notable Chicago sports personalities who passed away in 2011:

Ricky Bell, 36, Bears defensive back 1997-1998 (February 17).

Dave Cole, 81, Cubs pitcher 1954 (October 26).

Wes Covington, 79, White Sox outfielder 1961, Cubs outfielder 1966 (July 4).

Dave Duerson, 50, Bears safety 1983-1989, four-time Pro Bowler, member of Super Bowl XX championship team (February 17).

Woodie Fryman, 70, Cubs pitcher 1978 (February 4).

Joe Gentile, 87, Chicagoland car dealer, alumnus of and donor to Loyola University, whose basketball arena is named for him (October 10).

Jesse Jefferson, 62, White Sox pitcher 1975-1976 (September 8).

Alexander Karpovtsev, 41, Blackhawks defenseman 2000-2004 (September 7).

Jim Keane, 87, Bears end 1946-1951, led NFL in pass receptions with 60 in 1947, played college ball at Northwestern (March 8).

Igor Korolev, 41, Blackhawks center 2001-2004 (September 7).

Ed Manning, 67, Bulls forward 1969-1970 (March 4).

Ollie Matson, 80, Chicago Cardinals kick returner and halfback 1952-1958, traded to Los Angeles Rams in 1959 for nine players, six-time Pro Bowler, inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame 1972, previous to his football career won two medals at 1952 Summer Olympic Games (February 19).

Charlie Metro, 91, one of Cubs rotating managers in so-called “College of Coaches” era 1962 (March 18).

Tim McCaskey, 66, Bears vice president, second oldest of Ed and Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children (January 30).

Scotty Robertson, 81, Bulls head coach 1979 (August 18).

Bob Rush, 85, Cubs pitcher 1948-1957, White Sox pitcher 1960, two-time All-Star (March 19).

Johnny Schmitz, 90, Cubs pitcher 1941-1942 and 1946-1951, two-time All-Star, missed 1943-1945 seasons while serving in World War II (October 1).

Roy Smalley, 85, Cubs shortstop 1948-1953 (October 22).

Chuck Tanner, 81, Cubs outfielder 1957-1958; White Sox manager 1970-1975 (February 11).

Bob Will, 80, Cubs outfielder 1957-1958, 1960-1963 (August 11).

Gus Zernial, 87, White Sox outfielder 1949-1951, led American League in homers and RBIs in 1951 after being traded to Philadelphia Athletics early in the season (January 20).

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