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Darrel Akerfelds, Frank Wills and Allie Clark, former Indians players, pass away

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  • Darrel Akerfelds, Frank Wills and Allie Clark, former Indians players, pass away

    Though Darrel Akerfelds was mostly a reliever during his big league career, his was used primarily as a starting pitcher in his single season as a Cleveland Indian, 1987. In 16 games (13 starts), he went 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA, striking out 42 batters in 74.2 innings.

    SAN DIEGO -- Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, the longest-tenured member of the coaching staff, lost his nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer on Sunday in Phoenix. He was 50.

    Akerfelds, who was in his 11th season with the team in that role, hadn't been in uniform with the Padres since April 15 in Los Angeles.
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    Reliever Frank Wills spent parts of two seasons with the Indians, winning four of his 30 appearances.

    New Orleans native Frank Wills, who was an All-American at Tulane and later pitched nine seasons in the major leagues, died Friday. He was 53.

    Wills, a member of the De La Salle, Tulane, Diamond Club and New Orleans baseball halls of fame, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals with the 16th pick of the 1980 Major League Baseball Draft and made his major league debut with the Royals three summers later.
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    Allie Clark spent about three years in Cleveland and had the best year of his career with the team. In 1948, he hit .310 with nine home runs and 38 RBI.

    Jack McKeon will never forget sitting next to the man who started it all, soaking in baseball knowledge on the long train ride from South Amboy to Newark.

    Allie Clark was the kind of guy who wouldn’t forget the kids back home, the kind of player who would come by the old ball field alongside Saint Mary’s High School (now Cardinal McCarrick) and invite one to shag flies with the budding pros at Newark’s Ruppert Stadium.

    The first star in a baseball powerhouse town no bigger than two square miles, Clark, an outfielder on the World Champion 1947 Yankees, was the patriarch for four more major leaguers from the South Amboy area: McKeon, who managed the Marlins over the Yankees in the 2003 World Series; former Twins player and manager Tom Kelly, who guided Minnesota to two World Series victories (1987, 1991) and former Pirates players Johnny and Eddie O’Brien, the first twins in major league history to play for the same team.

    Yesterday, the day Clark passed away at age 88, his guidance and demeanor remained at the forefront among his friends and hometown residents.
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