Dusty Rhodes, the free-spirited outfielder whose pinch-hitting heroics helped the New York Giants to the 1954 World Series title, died yesterday at 82, the Daily News reports. Called “the worst fielder who ever played in a big league game” by one manager, Rhodes had a reputation for enjoying the nightlife; he died after battling illnesses including emphysema and diabetes.
“Dusty was the kind of buffoon who kept a club confident and happy,” Leo Durocher added of Rhodes in his autobiography. “And boy could he hit!” (Rhodes drove in 7 runs in the '54 Series sweep with a legendary string of clutch hits.) He retired in 1959 after just seven seasons, and he wasn’t shy about his love of alcohol. “It’s funny, I was never sick a day in my life until I quit drinking,” he told the Daily News last year.