Friday was a day of sadness and tragedy for many Americans as three well-regarded former athletes and entertainers all died on the same day.
That includes former Major League Baseball relief pitcher Bill Campbell, former International Hall of Fame tennis champion Dick Savitt, and acclaimed Hawaiian musician and singer Danny Kaleikini, who were aged 74, 95, and 85, respectively, at the time of their deaths.
The Boston Globe reported that former MLB relief pitcher Bill Campbell, who played for 15 seasons with seven different teams from 1973-1987, died at the age of 74 on Friday in hospice care while battling cancer.
The Michigan-born Campbell served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam before beginning his baseball career in 1970 as an undrafted free agent in the Minnesota Twins system. He would go on to pitch in the majors for the Twins, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and Montreal Expos before hanging up his glove in 1987.
Over the course of his career, Campbell twice won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and once led the American League in saves.
We remember Bill Campbell - @Twins 1973-76; @RedSox 1977-81; @Cubs 1983-83; @Phillies 1984; @Cardinals 1985; @Tigers 1986; Expos 1987. 2-time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award winner (1976-77). Led AL in saves (31) in 1977. #RestInPeace pic.twitter.com/pg0Wtxd0xJ
— Baseball Digest (@BaseballDigest) January 7, 2023
ESPN reported that Dick Savitt, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1976, had died at his home in New York on Friday at the age of 95.
The New Jersey-born and Texas-raised Savitt shocked the tennis world in 1951 when he won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon tournaments -- one of only four men ever to win both in the same season -- and ascended to second place in the rankings and earned a cover of TIME magazine for his feat.
The media outlet noted that Savitt was also a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist and that he won the U.S. National Indoor Championship in 1952 at the age of 25. However, he then mysteriously and inexplicably walked away from the sport at the height of his career to instead become a successful businessman in the oil industry and as a stockbroker.
Dick Savitt, the tennis Hall of Famer who won the men’s singles championships at the 1951 Australian and Wimbledon Grand Slam tournaments but dropped out of full-time play a year later while at the height of his game, has died at 95. https://t.co/uR3pN6Wnqc
— NYT Obituaries (@NYTObits) January 7, 2023
Finally, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that famed Hawaiian entertainer Danny Kaleikini died in his sleep on Friday at the age of 85 while in hospice care.
He was renowned in the island chain and beyond as an actor, musician, singer, recording artist, and showroom entertainer who, in 1988, had been dubbed by Hawaii's then-governor as the "Ambassador of Aloha" for best personifying the Hawaiian culture's loosely defined greeting and expression of love.
"Danny was a very special friend to me starting in the early 1970s, when I was a young football coach at the University of Hawaii, but that is who Danny was to so many -- a very special friend," Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in a statement. "He was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. To me, he was the embodiment of the very essence of everything that is so very special about Hawaii. He was truly a treasure, to Hawaii and to the world."
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