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Anyone who loves baseball 'round these parts knows the name Bobby Bragan -- his association with the Fort Worth Cats alone (in the late '40s and early '50s, then again in '05) was enough to make him legend, not to mention his years playing and managing in the big leagues and serving as the namesake of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, which doled out scholarships to local high school kids. His autobiography You Can't Hit the Ball With the Bat on Your Shoulder: The Baseball Life and Times of Bobby Bragan reads like a who's-who of the golden age of baseball; I'd recommend you find a copy. Especially this morning: Bragan died last night at his Fort Worth home at the age of 92. His friend, and former Star Telegram columnist Jim Reeves, wrote this touching obituary for ESPNDallas -- a must-read. Writes Revo:
Somewhere around my office I have a CD of Bragan playing the piano and singing some of his favorite tunes. I've heard him recite "Casey at the Bat" from memory. Even at 92, you halfway expected Bobby to break into a soft shoe and a song at any moment.
He did just that -- the song at least -- much to delight of those who attended his Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation Gala back in late October, singing at the piano with his daughter.
I just figured Bobby would live to be a hundred, no problem. He'd slide into second base at The Ballpark, dance with Ruta Lee and manage another Fort Worth Cats game to celebrate.
Update at 12:49 p.m.: A short while ago, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig released this statement:
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am terribly saddened today by the passing of Bobby Bragan. I met Bobby when he was the manager of the Milwaukee Braves and he was a dear friend of mine for nearly 50 years. He had a long and wonderful baseball career as a player, coach, manager and executive.
"The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, which has supported the scholastic endeavors of more than 400 eighth graders in northern Texas since 1991, is a profound legacy for one of our game's greatest ambassadors. All of baseball will miss him, and I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, friends and admirers."