One more time for Belanger

Full story: Berkshire Eagle

For Mark Belanger's family, it was an honor to witness the unveiling of his plaque at the Belanger Athletic Complex yesterday.
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1 - 20 of 37 Comments Last updated May 17, 2012
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Simba

Latham, NY

#1 Jul 10, 2008
Didn't he die from a drug over-dose?
Eric

AOL

#2 Jul 10, 2008
Simba wrote:
Didn't he die from a drug over-dose?
In a manner of speaking...he was a smoker and died of lung cancer.
Freedom for All

Latham, NY

#3 Jul 10, 2008
I remember seeing a sort of documentary on him living out west somewhere (homeless I believe) due to a drug problem. Either way, I don't see him as a role model.
djc

Lexington, MA

#4 Jul 10, 2008
Freedom for All wrote:
I remember seeing a sort of documentary on him living out west somewhere (homeless I believe) due to a drug problem. Either way, I don't see him as a role model.
I think folks should check their info before engaging their oral orifices. I remember Mark when he worked for a local department store (sports section of course) in the off-season. A great guy and truly a role model. It was tragic that he died in New York (out west??) of Lung Cancer (drug addiction??). SOMEONE is confused here.
Vassar Clements

Hartford, CT

#5 Jul 10, 2008
Freedom for All wrote:
I remember seeing a sort of documentary on him living out west somewhere (homeless I believe) due to a drug problem. Either way, I don't see him as a role model.
Nice going, jerk. You get your facts wrong, and in the process, you manage to smear a great guy.
Common Sense

Williamstown, MA

#6 Jul 10, 2008
Eric wrote:
<quoted text>In a manner of speaking...he was a smoker and died of lung cancer.
Ouch! How true though, I hate those damn things. He was a good ball player too.
San Ann

Glens Falls, NY

#7 Jul 10, 2008
djc wrote:
<quoted text>
I think folks should check their info before engaging their oral orifices. I remember Mark when he worked for a local department store (sports section of course) in the off-season. A great guy and truly a role model. It was tragic that he died in New York (out west??) of Lung Cancer (drug addiction??). SOMEONE is confused here.
I remeber they were having a 'Night' of celebreation for his old basketball coach Frank Moynihan, and he wanted five hindred dollars to appear,plus his brother Al was no good. he smoked like a Salmon at a fisherman's wharf.
mememy

Glens Falls, NY

#8 Jul 10, 2008
Freedom for All wrote:
I remember seeing a sort of documentary on him living out west somewhere (homeless I believe) due to a drug problem. Either way, I don't see him as a role model.
If he was smoking now, at the price there getting for cigs today, he'd be broke for sure. I do agree, with his smoking, that is a bad example.for a role model, plus he couldn't hit, just on cigarette hits, not to many people liked the family, I don't know why.
Sam

AOL

#9 Jul 10, 2008
It s unforunate Mark s family and friends have to read about the outrageous attacks from the 2 previous posts from NY. When small minds are given the power of the internet anything is possible. God help us all!!!!
Mike Cancilla

Gadsden, AL

#10 Jul 10, 2008
I remember those days growing up and knowing Pittsfield had 2 major leaguers
in Mark and Tom Grieve. Not bad for town the size of Pittsfield. I used to get a thrill out of seeimg Mark in the off season when he would work at Bessie Clark's on North Street. In that era you could actually make it on defense and actually be rewarded for it....we will never see those days. Not in the offensive climate of todays game.
It's nice to see a good guy be rewarded!!
PCV

Springfield, MA

#11 Jul 10, 2008
I did not know Mark. Given that, I find the comment from Simba to be those of a stupid person. Yes, he is free to say what he wants -- and so am I.

I would hope that the Belanger family disregards the rantings of stupid people and focuses on the positives of Mark's life.
huggy

Glens Falls, NY

#12 Jul 10, 2008
Freedom for All wrote:
I remember seeing a sort of documentary on him living out west somewhere (homeless I believe) due to a drug problem. Either way, I don't see him as a role model.
What was the drug? I know it wasn't steriods, they called him the 'blade", because he was so skinny from cigarette smoking.
Eric

AOL

#13 Jul 10, 2008
djc wrote:
<quoted text>
I think folks should check their info before engaging their oral orifices. I remember Mark when he worked for a local department store (sports section of course) in the off-season. A great guy and truly a role model. It was tragic that he died in New York (out west??) of Lung Cancer (drug addiction??). SOMEONE is confused here.
This is not a smear, just a statement of fact. Mark was a great guy. He served me from behind the counter at Besse Clark on more than one occasion. But sadly, he was a smoker, nicotine addict if you will, and that ultimately claimed him.
I Fought but Lost

Clifton Park, NY

#14 Jul 10, 2008
Mark Henry Belanger (June 8, 1944 October 6, 1998) was an American shortstop in Major League Baseball who played almost his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles. A defensive standout, he won eight Gold Glove Awards between 1969 and 1978, leading the American League in assists and fielding percentage three times each, and retired with the highest career fielding average by an AL shortstop (.977). He set franchise records for career games, assists and double plays as a shortstop, all of which were later broken by Cal Ripken, Jr. After his playing career, he became an official with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Belanger was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was recruited by the Orioles as an amateur in 1962, and made his debut with the club on August 7, 1965. He took over as the Orioles' regular shortstop in late 1967, and held the position for over a decade.

Nicknamed "The Blade" because of his height of 6 ft 1 in (1.55 m) and weight of only 170 lb (77 kg), Belanger was known as a poor hitter. In 1970 he was a Triple Crown loser (finishing last in the TC categories). In his eighteen seasons in the major leagues, Belanger hit only 20 home runs, and had a lifetime batting average of .228, only topping the .230 mark over a full season three times; his .228 average is the third lowest of any major league player with over 5000 career at bats, ahead of only George McBride (.218) and Ed Brinkman (.224), and the seventh lowest of any non-catcher with at least 2500 at bats since 1920. His true contribution to the team was on defense, where he earned a reputation as one of the best fielding shortstops ever. Receiving the AL Gold Glove eight times (1969, 1971, 1973-78), he was also named to the All-Star team in 1976. Belanger joined a select group of shortstop-second baseman combinations who each won Gold Gloves in the same season while playing together: in 1969 and 1971 with Davey Johnson, and again with Bobby Grich each year between 1973 and 1976 inclusive. And with Brooks Robinson winning at third base every year through 1975, the left side of the Orioles' infield was seemingly impenetrable.

Shut up or show up!
I Fought but Lost

Clifton Park, NY

#15 Jul 10, 2008
Mark Henry Belanger (June 8, 1944 October 6, 1998) was an American shortstop in Major League Baseball who played almost his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles. A defensive standout, he won eight Gold Glove Awards between 1969 and 1978, leading the American League in assists and fielding percentage three times each, and retired with the highest career fielding average by an AL shortstop (.977). He set franchise records for career games, assists and double plays as a shortstop, all of which were later broken by Cal Ripken, Jr. After his playing career, he became an official with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Belanger was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was recruited by the Orioles as an amateur in 1962, and made his debut with the club on August 7, 1965. He took over as the Orioles' regular shortstop in late 1967, and held the position for over a decade.

Nicknamed "The Blade" because of his height of 6 ft 1 in (1.55 m) and weight of only 170 lb (77 kg), Belanger was known as a poor hitter. In 1970 he was a Triple Crown loser (finishing last in the TC categories). In his eighteen seasons in the major leagues, Belanger hit only 20 home runs, and had a lifetime batting average of .228, only topping the .230 mark over a full season three times; his .228 average is the third lowest of any major league player with over 5000 career at bats, ahead of only George McBride (.218) and Ed Brinkman (.224), and the seventh lowest of any non-catcher with at least 2500 at bats since 1920. His true contribution to the team was on defense, where he earned a reputation as one of the best fielding shortstops ever. Receiving the AL Gold Glove eight times (1969, 1971, 1973-78), he was also named to the All-Star team in 1976. Belanger joined a select group of shortstop-second baseman combinations who each won Gold Gloves in the same season while playing together: in 1969 and 1971 with Davey Johnson, and again with Bobby Grich each year between 1973 and 1976 inclusive. And with Brooks Robinson winning at third base every year through 1975, the left side of the Orioles' infield was seemingly impenetrable.

He hit a rare home run in the first American League Championship Series game ever played in 1969, and after uncharacteristically hitting .333 in the 1970 ALCS, his contributions led to the Orioles' 1970 World Series victory, the team's second title in five years; he caught a line drive to end a 4-3 victory in Game 1 with the tying run on first base, and had an assist to end Game 3. Playing in six ALCS, he set league playoff records for career games, putouts, assists, total chances and double plays by a shortstop, all of which were broken between 1998 and 2002 by Omar Vizquel and Derek Jeter.

Belanger was known for his intelligence and his gentlemanly demeanor on and off the field. Playing between star players such as Robinson and Johnson, he was a favorite of many Baltimore fans, and came to symbolize the Orioles of the 1970s as a group of selfless, determined overachievers whose talents as a team were greater than their sum as individuals.

He was granted free agency in 1981, perhaps in response to his public criticism of manager Earl Weaver, and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 1982 season, after which he retired. His successor at the position for the Orioles in 1982 was Ripken. The Orioles' union representative for several years, and one of the four players who led negotiations during the 1981 strike, after his retirement as an active player he was employed by the MLBPA as a liaison to its membership.

Belanger contracted lung cancer in the late 1990s - perhaps because of his habit of smoking cigarettes [1]- and died in New York City at the age of 54. He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
just checking

Gloversville, NY

#16 Jul 10, 2008
Why all of the nasty comments? He was a great fielding SS. He did a radio program with the great Bucky Bullitt on the old WMNB and I remember he was kind to us kids who waited outside the radio station to meet him.

“it's good to be back ... ”

Since: Mar 08

the forest

#17 Jul 10, 2008
I find it despicable that people choose to focus on the way this man died rather than how he lived ...
There's another thread associated with the subject you're trying to push here.
He was a good man. The Belangers are very good people.
Please have some respect.
If you wouldn't say it to their faces, don't say it here.
Coach Al - it's nice to see Mom up and around. Much love to you and the family.
Eric

AOL

#18 Jul 11, 2008
i am SPARKLING wrote:
I find it despicable that people choose to focus on the way this man died rather than how he lived ...
There's another thread associated with the subject you're trying to push here.
He was a good man. The Belangers are very good people.
Please have some respect.
If you wouldn't say it to their faces, don't say it here.
Coach Al - it's nice to see Mom up and around. Much love to you and the family.
It's despicable to point out that a great guy was claimed by cigarettes? And is it despicable to point out drugs claimed Jim Morrison, AIDS claimed Nureyev and alcohol claimed Mickey Mantle. Give me a break. Pretending great people don't have vices is stupid.
Berkman

Schenectady, NY

#19 Jul 11, 2008
Eric, I think he's refering to the STUPID comments of being a drug addicted, homeless person out West more than the smoking comment.
dugout

Glens Falls, NY

#20 Jul 11, 2008
Eric wrote:
<quoted text>It's despicable to point out that a great guy was claimed by cigarettes? And is it despicable to point out drugs claimed Jim Morrison, AIDS claimed Nureyev and alcohol claimed Mickey Mantle. Give me a break. Pretending great people don't have vices is stupid.
Belanger couldn't have been homeless, out west, he died in the'City'.

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