Brooklyn Dodgers reliever Banta dies at 81

Updated: September 19, 2006, 12:42 PM ET
Associated Press

HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Jack Banta, who played on the Brooklyn Dodgers with Jackie Robinson and made three relief appearances in the 1949 World Series, died at 81.

His death was confirmed Tuesday by Elliott Mortuary. Banta, who had heart problems and recently broke his hip, entered a Hutchinson hospice Saturday and died the next day, wife Jackie Banta said.

Banta pitched briefly for the Dodgers in 1947 and 1948. His best season was in 1949 when he went 10-6 and won the pennant-clinching game.

Banta, who threw sidearm, pitched in the World Series against a New York Yankees team featuring Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra. The Dodgers had a lineup that included Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges.

Banta pitched in relief in Games 3, 4 and 5 and gave up a home run to DiMaggio. The Yankees won the Series in five games.

"Quality person," former teammate Carl Erskine told The Hutchinson News from his home in Anderson, Ind. "Jack was quiet, but he was very intense. He came at his job with a real passion."

A sore arm limited Banta's 1950 season. He went on to manage in the Dodgers' farm system before leaving baseball. He worked for a grocery supermarket company in Hutchinson for 33 years before retiring in 1989.

Besides his wife, Banta is survived by three children and four grandchildren.

A graveside service is scheduled for Thursday in Hutchinson.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press