The oldest living Red passed away on Thursday.
From the Enquirer...
The oldest living Red is dead.
Danny Litwhiler, 94, died Thursday at a hospice in Clearwater, Fla.
His Reds history dates so far back that he arrived in town only three weeks after Ted Kluszewski’s first big league home run (April 25, 1948), and was here during the Kidney Surgery Heard Round the World (pitcher Ewell Blackwell on Jan. 20, 1949) and the Reds’ Second Worst Trade in Club History (June 15, 1949, Hank Sauer to the Cubs for Harry ‘‘Peanuts’’ Lowery).
Litwhiler, a Reds outfielder from 1948 through 1951, went on to become head baseball coach at Florida State and Michigan State, where he produced several major league players, including Steve Garvey.
Litwhile was a Reds minor league instructor for five years in the mid-1980s, tutoring many of the young Reds farmhands who went on to become stars for the 1990 World Champions, including Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and Joe Oliver.
Litwhiler had been in good health until about four years ago, said his widow, Pat, when minor surgery for a prostate problem led to a series of infections that put him in and out of the hospital.
There were a series of falls at his home which had him in and out of a rehab center, and eventually he was put in a nursing home for good last July.
Litwhiler was known in the Baseball world for his inventiveness (lacing of loose fingers in glove; radar gun, quick-drying Diamond Dirt), and perhaps even more importantly for helping to reduce racial tensions in Cincinnati in the summer of 1948.
He had just been traded here in May of that year. Sometime before the Brooklyn Dodgers came to town, Reds general manager Warren Giles asked Litwhiler to pose for a photo with Jackie Robinson, who had broken baseball’s color line for the Dodgers the previous year.
"Why me?" Litwhiler asked Giles.
"Because you're a college graduate, and you understand what this is all about,’’ Giles said.
"I'll do it,'' Litwhilier responded.
Litwhiler’s death comes only a week before the 55th anniversary of Robinson’s final major league regular season game on Sept. 30, 1996, at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn.
The oldest living former Red is now Lonnie Goldstein, 93, who appeared in 11 games for the Reds over the 1943 and 1946 seasons.