Several years ago, I started tracking the deaths of former Brooklyn players. It was helpful as I was collecting autographs to know who was left and who was already gone. Even though I have signatures of all remaining living members, I have continued to track these passings to this day. As of the most recent death (Ron Negray), there remains 18 players.
I was looking over the list tonight and although it is somewhat morbid to think about, it is a true reality that each of these men will likely be moving along in the somewhat near future. It got me wondering when all was said and done, who will have the unique honor of being the last man alive to have played for the Brooklyn Dodgers?
The youngest of the bunch will be 81 this coming June, Bob Aspromonte. If life were that simple and perfectly logical, the youngest would be the last, but we all know it doesn't necessarily always work that way. Aside from Koufax, who had a few more games from 1955-1957, most of the youngsters are connected to Brooklyn by only a handful of games, mostly in 1956 or 1957, their last season in NY. You need to jump down the list to Glen Mickens, who played in 1953, to really get into the thick of the Brooklyn teams and the furthest back we can go is the 1943 team (Chris Haughey). The oldest reigning Brooklyn Dodger is 96 year old (as of nov 2018) Eddie Basinski. He played parts of 2 seasons in 1944-45.
Oldest to youngest, age and first year with Brooklyn:
Eddie Basinski (96) - 1944
Tim Thompson (94, will be 95 on March 1) - 1954
Wayne Terwilliger (93) - 1951
Chris Haughey (93) - 1943
Randy Jackson (92, will be 93 this coming Sunday!) - 1956
Don Newcombe (92) - 1949
Bobby Morgan (92) - 1950
Carl Erskine (92) - 1948
Tommy Lasorda (91) - 1954
Tommy Brown (91) - 1944
Joe Pignatano (89) - 1957
Roger Craig (88, will be 89 on 2/17) - 1955
Glenn Mickens (88) - 1953
Fred Kipp (87) - 1957
Jim Gentile (84) - 1957
Don Demeter (83) - 1956
Sandy Koufax (83) - 1955
Bob Aspromonte (80) - 1956
I wish all of these men to live the fullest lives possible and hope that they remain in good health until the end. Still, it would be neat to see Koufax as the last standing, representing the franchise that he started his career with as a teenager, although he would not go on to participate in their final World Championship of 1955. Newcombe, Erskine and Craig are the final members of that historic Championship Club.