Russ Swan, 1964-2006

Dave · May 1, 2006 at 9:29 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Today brings the sad news that Russ Swan has passed away.

I remember his first appearance as a Mariner, making a start against Detroit in 1990. He had a no hitter through 7 innings, and since I was 9 years old, that was enough to convince me that he was the savior of our pitching staff. It didn’t quite turn out that way.

RIP, Russ.


17 Responses to “Russ Swan, 1964-2006”

  1. David* on May 1st, 2006 9:41 am

    Sad news. Prayers for his family.

  2. plivengood on May 1st, 2006 9:53 am

    “Swan’s sister said he was taken to the hospital April 17 after being found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., without his wallet or identification papers.”

    Am I just being a paranoid conspiracy theorist, or is there a subtle implication of foul play here? Geez, I hope not.

    I have fleeting memories of Russ Swan. I know I saw him pitch many times (he had some 150+ appearances for the Mariners, during a time when I was happy to pay $3 (IIRC) for the 300 level seat and then sit pretty much whereever I wanted), but I can’t say – like Dave – that I have any one particular memory of him, other than passing a baseball card of him on to my son. Still, I have a fondness for any player (or loyal fan) of the Mariners of his era.

    42 is way too young for anybody to die. My thoughts and best wishes go out to his family in this difficult time.

  3. Jim Thomsen on May 1st, 2006 9:54 am

    Sad news, indeed. He had a fine 1990 season, and was liked in a Bloomquistian way by the fans for his Northwest connection (Kennewick native). Good curve, just couldn’t put it together with his control.

    By my count, that’s nine former Mariners no longer living. Others include:

    — Joe Decker, pitched briefly in the late 70s, died in 2003 from a fall off his roof in Storm Lake, Iowa at age 54.

    — Rick Anderson, former Yankees first-round draft pick who pitched briefly in 1980 for the M’s; died at 38 in 1990. He was found in a trailer in the California desert, having bloated up to nearly 400 pounds.

    — Larry Cox, catcher of late 70s and early 80s vintage. Died at 42 in 1990 from a heart attack while playing racquetball.

    — Rod Scurry, famous for his drug problems, pitched for the M’s in 1988. He died a few years later of an overdose in his Reno apartment.

    — Al Cowens, outfielder, early 80s, famed for his remarkable facial resemblance to Lionel Richie. Died in 2002 of natural causes.

    — Ivan Calderon, outfielder, 1984-86. Died at age 41 in Puerto Rico from mysterious causes.

    There’s a few others I’m not thinking of at the moment … I’ll get back to those.

  4. Dave on May 1st, 2006 10:03 am

    Ivan Calderon was murdered. I guess technically that is “mysterious causes”.

  5. Jim Thomsen on May 1st, 2006 10:09 am

    Ah, yes. I was referring to the fact that we still don’t know much more than that.

  6. dw on May 1st, 2006 10:12 am

    The motive in Calderon’s murder is “mysterious,” though I thought it was a revenge killing at the time.

    Lexis-Nexis is your friend:

    Dozens of mourners attended Calderon’s wake Monday in Canovanas, Puerto Rico. The former White Sox star was shot down by a group of men in a convenience store near his hometown of Loiza. Police Superintendent Victor Rivera Gonzalez said detectives were investigating revenge as a possible motive.

    — Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 20, 2003

  7. marc w on May 1st, 2006 10:22 am

    I remember listening to Swan’s first game too – I thought he would anchor the M’s rotation for a decade. Hanson, Johnson, Holman and Swan would get the M’s a couple of pennants. Throw in Brian Holman, who would get his revenge on Oakland and throw 3 perfect games againt the A’s, and you had the makings of a historically great staff. That’s how I analyzed it, anyway.
    He came to the M’s in a trade for Gary ‘New Year’s’ Eave, and I was convinced that finally, after more than a decade, the M’s had actually fleeced someone – twice in a row. I thought our front office could do no wrong, and that maybe we’d pry Maddux from Chicago in exchange for Jerry Reed, Gene Harris and a prospect.

    You really had to latch on to any sign of hope in those days…

  8. terry on May 1st, 2006 10:22 am

    Cubs fans?

  9. Ed on May 1st, 2006 10:33 am

    I don’t remember ever seeing him pitch, but I grew up in Kennewick, too, and remember meeting him at a signing when he was still with the Giants (which, hm, made me about all of 7). I must still have a signed card of his in a box back at my parents’ house.

  10. Jim Thomsen on May 1st, 2006 10:36 am

    Best Tri-Cities baseball exports:

    1. Bruce Kison
    2. Jeremy Bonderman
    3. Russ Swan

  11. Dave in Palo Alto on May 1st, 2006 10:47 am

    Jim, give Ray Washburn a little love too.

  12. Jim Thomsen on May 1st, 2006 11:02 am

    Did he actually pitch HS ball there?

  13. F-Rod on May 1st, 2006 11:04 am

    For what its worth…Russ was one of the best players for the league minimum in ESPN Classic Fantasy Baseball

  14. Dave in Palo Alto on May 1st, 2006 11:37 am

    Washburn was hardcore Tri-Cities. High School at Columbia-Burbank. College at Whitworth (Spokane) and Columbia Basin. Also pitched semipro in Walla Walla.

    Thank you, Mr. Internet.

  15. msb on May 1st, 2006 12:20 pm

    my main memory of Kison (aside from him looking like he weighed about 130 when he first came up) was that Pirates’ broadcaster Bob Prince paid for a helicopter to take Kison from the stadium to the airport literally just after the Pirates won Game 7 of the ’71 Series, to make sure Bruce made the plane to take him to Pittsburgh to be married that night.

  16. Karen on May 1st, 2006 12:57 pm

    My brother-in-law died in much the same way as is reported for Russ Swan. He was found dead on his bed, fully clothed, with a recent laceration on his forehead. Speculation was that he stumbled or tripped in his living room, hitting his head on the coffee table, and staggered back to his bedroom dizzy and bleeding, and expired. He did have health issues.

    I’d be inclined to think Russ Swan did, too. I wouldn’t suspect foul play as a primary cause of his death…but maybe more information will be released in a few days. Nevertheless, it’s a gutwrenching piece of news, any time you hear of an untimely death of someone you know, or know of.

    “They say these things happen in threes…” — Steve Howe, now Russ Swan…and #3?

  17. wabbles on May 1st, 2006 1:24 pm

    Anybody who was a member of that 1993 squad (with the possible exception of Rich DeLucia) is okay in my book. They were the second M’s team to finish above .500. (They were 82-80, the 1991 club was 83-79). Okay, he had a 9.16 ERA but he was 3-3. It was Lou’s first team and re-energized me towards M’s baseball after that 1992 season. Hats off to ya, Russ and RIP.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.