In Memory of Curt Blefary

Former Astro Blefary dead
The Houston Chronicle
January 30, 2001

(c) Houston Astros
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - Former Astro Curt Blefary , the 1965 American League Rookie of the Year, died Sunday after a long illness at age 57.

Blefary , a member of the Baltimore team that won the 1966 World Series, died of chronic pancreatitis and other related ailments at his home, according to his widow, Lana Blefary .

"It's good that his suffering is over now," she said.

Blefary played eight seasons in the major leagues with the Orioles (1965-68), Astros (1969), New York Yankees (1970-71), Oakland Athletics (1971-72) and San Diego Padres (1972).

He hit .237 with 112 home runs and 382 RBIs in 974 career games. In 1969, often batting leadoff for the Astros, Blefary hit .253 with 12 homers and 67 RBIs.

Blefary originally signed with the Yankees, who sold his contract to the Orioles while he was still in the minor leagues. He won the AL Rookie of the Year Award after hitting .260 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs.

"The next year, Baltimore beat the Yankees for the pennant, and he got his ring," his wife said. "He loved it. He gloated about it for the rest of his life."

Given the nickname "Clank" because of his poor fielding, Blefary played first base, then was switched to catcher.

On April 27, 1968, Blefary caught Tom Phoebus' no-hitter for Baltimore. Blaming his offensive decline on the constant defensive shuffling at Baltimore, he was traded to Houston in 1969 in a deal that sent Mike Cuellar to the Orioles.