Agganis, Red Sox Star, Dies at 25: Death Comes Unexpectedly; Recovering from Pneumonia; News Shocks Sports World, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-28


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J c 1 r j t k , 1 J " . i1 ; " : ; 5 - t 1 i t . j s i - ? r e Agganis, Red Sox Star, Dies at 25 Death Comes Unexpectedly; Recovering From Pneumonia; News Shocks Sports World By JOE PHELAN United Press Sports Writer CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 27. Death unexpectedly struck down first baseman Harry Agganis of the Boston Red Sox today, ending one of the most promising careers in major league sports. He was 25. Agganis apparently was recovering from an attack of pneumonia when he died at 11:45 a.m. at Sandncta Maria Hospital here. The death of the husky young star, one of the nations most promising athletes as a schoolboy, deeply grieved and shocked the sporting world. Agganis, affectionately known as the ".Golden Greek" for his athletic exploits at Boston University; was admitted to the hospital June 4 after, being flown back from Kansas City Where he suffered a recurrence of virus pneumonia. He was stricken originally with the ailment May 16. Three staff physicians who attended Agganis said "death was believed caused by a massive pulmonary embolism. He was making a slow .but apparently appreciable convalescence from a severe "pulmonary infection complicated by phlebitis when he died. Family Not at Bedside Dr. Theodore Badger said, "It all came 1, 2, 3. We never- expected it to happen that fast." Members of his family were unable to reach Agganis at the hospital -before his death. Agganis, only in his second year in the major leagues, Was placed on the voluntary retired list June 6 so the Red Sox could make room for injured shortstop Milt Boiling. He batted .1281 with Louisville in 1953, and .251 for 132 games as a rookie las tyear. In 25 games this season, Agganis had a mark of .313. Red Sox general manager Joe Cronin voiced the grief of baseball-rabid Boston and the victims nearby home town of Lynn where he gained national honors as a three-sport standout. "Every one connected with the Red Sox is grieved and shocked. Harry Agganis was a great athlete, a grand boy and a great credit to sports," Cronin said. He rushed to the hospital when informed of the tragedy. Similar messages of condolences poured in from the great of the countrys sporting life. A heavy gloom spread among Agganis teammates, in Pittsburgh for an exhibition game tonight with the Pirates. None learned of his passing until shortly after 2 p. m., and manager Mike Higgins said he was "very much upset and shocked." "I talked to Harry one Saturday morn-1 ing and he seemed to be in good shape. Its a great shock. I dont know what to say. He was a good ballplayer," Higgins added. Ted Williams, without knowing of Harrys dealth, was commenting only this morning on Agganis potential as a major leaguer. "Hes got the tools to be a good hitter. He only needs more experience," Williams said in Boston. Donelli Shocked by Report An aide said Aldo Buff "Donelli, head football coach at Boston University, was "broken up something terrible" at the news. Donelli had almosfbeen a father to the star who chose BU over 67 other schools so that he could be near his widowed mother. "I dont know what to say. There was never a more loyal kid, he was a great competitor who loved a challenge," Don-. elli was quoted as saying. Agganis was BU backfield coach in the off-season, Agganis passed up several lucrative of-fers to play professional football to take a 0,000 bonus from, the Red Sox. That was only shortly after he wound up his brilliant collegiate career in the 1953 Sen-j ior Bowl game at Mobile, Ala., where he was voted the "Most Valuable Player" award. He passed for two touchdowns, set up another on a pass, intercepted two enemy aerials, ran like a frightened deer, and kicked two conversions. Agganis was considered the greatest all-e round athlete produced in the Greater Boston area in 25 years. In high school he excelled in football, baseball and bas-.1 ketball. He played football and baseball at BU, passing punting and batting left-i handed.

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