It's a sad day when someone you've known and conversed with for 30-plus years passes away, so it was distressing to hear that longtime Orioles umpires attendant Ernie Tyler had left us at age 86.
Ernie was one of those guys whose personality and temperament were too good to be true. He always had a kind word, a smile and time to chat. He was the true iron man of baseball, with a ballpark career dating back to 1960. A real gentleman, class act, insert whatever superlative you want. Ernie Tyler was a gem.
On another note, the recent passing of ex-Dodger Tony Malinosky at age 101 means that former Nats' righthander Conrado Marrero is now the oldest living major leaguer. Marrero broke in with Washington in 1950 when he was already 39 and had pitched in Cuba for many years. He went 39-40 with a 3.67 ERA in 118 games over five seasons, mostly as a starter. He completed 51 games and threw seven shutouts.
Marrero was a chunky little guy, only about 5-foot-5 and 165 lbs., with a deceptive delivery and a penchant for big Cuban cigars. He'll turn 100 on April 25. He lives in Cuba with his grandson, and despite having lost his eyesight, still entertains baseball fans who travel to the island on baseball tours that originate in Canada. He still has a lovely signature.
When the Orioles played their two-game series against the Cuban National team some years ago, Marrero threw out the first ball at the game in Havana. I was hoping he'd come to Baltimore for the other game, but he did not.
The Nationals are idle April 25, but the next day they open a homestand against the Mets. Marrero is not able to travel these days, but I'll bet the Nats pay tribute in some way during the game.