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'Lefty' Van Brunt, Alaska baseball icon, dies at 78

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published May 25, 2011

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska baseball icon Lefty Van Brunt died Tuesday at 78 years old. He had been hospitalized for a respiratory illness and was struck down by a heart attack. Van Brunt will be remembered as a tireless, passionate worker on behalf of baseball in Alaska. He coached for the Alaska Baseball League's Anchorage Glacier Pilots for 27 consecutive seasons, working with many players bound for professional careers, and tossing Tootsie Rolls to fans. But to many people who grew up in Anchorage, the most significant part of his legacy are the many winters he spent volunteering in warehouses around the city coaching Alaskan kids -- even those with apparently zero talent -- to hone their skills. His influence on that generation of kids cannot be overstated. For love of the game, read much, much more about the somewhat enigmatic, but extremely influential man, here. And mark your calendars for the July 14 game at Mulcahy Stadium; the Pilots are reportedly planning to honor Lefty's memory on that day, which would have been his 79th birthday.