PITTSBURGH — Longtime St. Louis Cardinals coach Dave Ricketts, who played on their 1967 World Series championship team, died early Sunday. He was 73.
Ricketts' family informed the Cardinals of his death. He had been battling cancer while living in St. Louis.
Ricketts was a reserve catcher, who played sparingly for the Cardinals in 1963, '65 and '67 to '69. He was traded to the Pirates in 1970, his final season in the majors. He played 130 major league games and hit .249 with one home run.
He became a coach for the Pirates in 1971. He had two stints as a Cardinals coach, first from 1974 to '75, then from 1978 to '91. He also was a minor league instructor for the team.
"Sometimes the word great is overused, and it's a shame," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said before St. Louis played the Pirates. "There have been some truly great Cardinals that have come through our organization, but I don't know anybody who was as great or more beloved than Dave Ricketts. I put him in the George Kissell category, or Red Schoendienst, as far as ... the fondness that [people in the organization] feel for him."
Ricketts played college basketball at Duquesne, averaging 17.9 points and shooting 86.2 percent from the free throw line in 1956-57. As a sophomore, he played on Duquesne's 1955 NIT championship team.