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ALFREDO EDMEAD – Dominican Diamond Death

edmead2.jpg 

Alfredo Edmead came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a 17-year-old in 1974 to play his first -and only- season of professional baseball.  He left behind ten brothers and sisters to become almost an overnight success, then -even more quickly- the victim of a shocking tragedy. 

Edmead turned pro when Pittsburgh Pirates scout Pablo Cruz signed him to a contract in 1973.  Cruz, 27, also played second base for the class-A Salem Pirates, where Edmead debuted the following year.  Cruz looked after Edmead and the club’s other young Dominicans, who spoke little or no English.

“I was afraid I’d be withdrawn,” Edmead admitted to a reporter early in the year.  “But I started hitting, playing ball and having a good time.”

Edmead’s English improved so quickly that Salem manager John Lipon described him as “so very smart”, but it was Edmead’s bat that spoke louder than anything.  “I knew then that he had God-given talent,” said Lipon, recalling Edmead’s first swing in spring training.  “He just hit the ball hard all spring, line drive after line drive.”

Edmead played right-field and batted second, right behind centerfielder, leadoff man and future big leaguer Miguel Dilone.  They shared a house, lockered side-by-side, and teamed up to wreak havoc on the Carolina League.  They didn’t compete with each other, but helped and pushed each other to be the best players they could be.  That was just fine with Lipon.  “They’re definitely pushing our club,” he said.

Edmead and Dilone helped Salem get off to a great start, leading to a writeup in the June 8 issue of The Sporting News headlined “Salem Swings With Its .400 Dominican Duo”. 

Thirty-four games into the season, Dilone was hitting .408 with 36 runs scored, while Edmead was right behind him at .396 with 30 runs and 26 RBI.  Each man already had 24 stolen bases, while Edmead surprised even himself by hitting four home runs.  “I never expected anything like this,” he admitted. 

“Edmead is a natural hitter,” Lipon observed.  “I’ve seen some guys come up and improve as the year goes on, but I haven’t helped him a bit.”

The batting averages of Edmead and Dilone dropped as the season wore on, but Salem continued to dominate, finishing first in both halves of league play en route to a franchise-best 87-50 record.

Edmead, a .318 hitter with 7 home runs, learned on August 20 that he’d been selected as a Carolina League All-Star.  Though he was still only 18, many in the Pirates organization believed he could move all the way up the triple-A in 1975. 

Three of his teammates also made the team, including Dilone who copped player-of-the-year honors.  Lipon was recognized as the circuit’s top manager, while Cruz was voted most popular Pirate by the fans.  “The only bad thing that happened the whole year was the Edmead incident,” said Lipon a few weeks later.  “I guess I’ll never forget it, and neither will the players.”

The “Edmead incident” took place on August 22, in a home game at Municipal Field against Rocky Mount.  Edmead scored the Pirates first run after swiping both second and third base to give him 61 steals for the season.  Everything seemed fine, but an otherwise routine pop fly to short right in the top of the sixth changed everything.

Edmead raced in for the ball from right, while Cruz ran out from his second base position.  Edmead dove in an effort to make the catch, but his head collided with Cruz’ knee, and both men went down in a heap.  Edmead had been knocked unconscious, and some of the first players on the scene reported that he wasn’t breathing.  The team trainer was able to revive him, but Edmead was rushed to Lewis-Gale hospital. 

The game resumed, minus Cruz, who’d hurt his knee badly, but was too upset about Edmead to accept treatment.  “My God.  My brother, my little brother,” Cruz lamented later that day.  “He always tried so hard.  I didn’t see him.”

Though the players on both teams weren’t told until the game was finished, Salem’s general manager called from the hospital just an hour after the impact with three sad words:  “Alfredo is dead”.

Edmead died from massive brain injuries, shocking his teammates, and nearly everyone who heard the news.  “I never heard of anything like this before,” said Pirates farm director Harding Peterson.  “We lost not only one of the best young prospects in our organization.  We lost a fine young gentleman.  It’s truly hard to believe.”

Dilone was so stunned that he initially packed his fallen friend’s gear for the next road trip, before setting it aside to be sent back to the Dominican with Edmead’s body. 

Alfredo Edmead (1956 – 1974) was honored with a plaque at Municipal Field, and a scholarship in his name presented to an outstanding Roanoke, Virginia area athlete.

by MALCOLM ALLEN

onetoughdominican47@hotmail.com

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26 Responses to “ALFREDO EDMEAD – Dominican Diamond Death”

  1. Wow, this is so sad, I had not heard about this player. Now i will wince every time I see a pop-up.

  2. I am 43 years old and i am an orthopaedics surgeon.
    I been a frieind of his family since i was a child.
    It is an honor for me to read about him after so many years.
    It is important for you to know that you are talking about one of the finest and respectable families in the Dominican Republic, not because they are rich ,but of their high level of moral and education.
    Alfredo was a frieind and a brother to all of us in San Pedro were we were raise, he had a dream to become a major leage baseball player and unfortunatelly he died very young ,but God had a place for him in heaven.
    His family really miss him, but every time they read something like this they realize that he was big, and he also made them proud,not only because he was a great baseball player but also because he was an extraordinary human been.
    Thank you Mr. Allen to keep this alive ,because he was what baseball should be a SPORT not a bussines, like most players from now a days think.

    Santiago Hazim (MD)
    Dominican Republic

    • I was very suprised to fiind this article about him i never met him,but as a kid in ( el barrio kennedy) i herd of his accident and it was very sad in the neighborhood such a prominent player with a great future lost his life playing the sport that he loved , may the lord be with him always.

      • Aveces nos preguntamos porque suceden cosas asi, pero solo dios tiene esa respuesta , un prominente prospecto dominicano como Alfredo Edmead perderlo a tan temprana edad quien sabe hasta donde hubiese llegado con las herramientas que poseia.Me anime a escribir al ver este articulo despues de tantos años,tambien recuerdo haber trabajado con su hermana Rosita en la famosa cooperativa del Kennedy quien siempre estaba sonriente , que dios lo tenga en gloria.

  3. Very sad incident for my family, i didn’t met him due to my age, but trully know that my mother and my aunts and uncle miss him alot.

    • Hi Manuel,

      During that 1974 baseball season, I worked for the Lynchburg Twins. I was in high school at the time and just did odd jobs for the team.

      Early that season, I was sitting by myself next to the visitor’s dugout and a young Dominican ballplayer came up and gave me a baseball. That player was Alfredo. He and I became friends and spoke quite a few times during that year when Salem came to town. I was taking my third year of Spanish so my Spanish and his English were at about the same level. We had fun trying to communicate.

      It was surprising how close we were in age. I think he was only 6 months older than me; yet obviously living a very different life.

      I hope you’ll see this message at some point and know that I appreciated Alfredo both as a ballplayer and a friend.

      Chris

  4. es un ejemplo para muchos jovenes de nuestro pais ,lamentando su ida a destiempopor que pudo dar mas conocimentos a nuestros jovenes lo seguimos viendo como todo un diamante de nustro pais . esperamos tenere muchos que suenen como el. muy atentamente arq. cesar ortiz san pedro de macoris

  5. my name is alfred edmead nephew of alfredo edmead i never met him and even hear about him but i knew that he was a good men and a very good baseball player but now i know more about him thanks mr. allen i know thats its tragic incident cause a big sad feeling in our family and that my dad ”his brother” never play baseball again. now wen i grow up i want to be a good men and a profesional baseball player like him.

    thanks again to mr.allen to write this information and keep his story alive

  6. A la verdad el destino de una persona solo lo sabe Dios, nunca lo conoci ,pero me siento muy feliz, al saber que mi tio fue una estrella del beisbol y que lucho por lo que mas queria.

  7. As we remember the greatest moments of his live we now had to be thankful because he is part of God Team. He makes up very proud and put our Dominicans name on top of the line. I am hopeful that a new nephew will continue what Alfredo started.

  8. NOT YOU TO KNOW, BUT I LIVE AS IF YOU WERE HERE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE YOUR RECOLLETIONS AND YOUR SPIRIT NEAR YOURS IN AS IF YOU HAD NOT GONE AWAY.

    YOU HAVE LEFT IN THE FAMILY A RECOLLECTION SO BEATIFUL THAT IS OF FIGHTING FOR WHAT ONE WANTS AND TO DO EVERYTHING DULY; YOU GAVE TO US THE HAPPINESS WHEN IT (HE,SHE) WAS AND PRIDE WHEN YOU WENT AWAY OF AN EXAMPLE THAT ANYONE IT WANTED TO HAVE THOUGH IT(HE,SHE) IS OF DISTANT VIEW, YOU ARE AND SERAS BEATIFUL MAS OF THE UNCLES THAT EH HAD (TAKEN) THOUGH YOU WERE NOT MANAGING TO SEE TO ME WHAT MATTERS IS THAT I AM OF THE SAME FAMILY IF GOD EM WAS GIVING THE OPORTUNIDAD OF LIVING AGAIN PEDIRIA TO MEET IN LIFE…….. I LOVE YOU ALFREDITO.

  9. I was a big Pirate fan and lived in Roanoke, Va. I was at the game. I remember being so grief stricken after the collision that I could not stay that evening, and don’t remember returning to the ballpark the rest of the season.

    Alfredo was a great talent and one of my favorite players on the team. I still feel for Pablo Cruz, I got to know him a bit the next season when I was lucky enough to be around the team a bit. Pablo is probably one of my all time favorite Salem players.

    I always dream about the Pirates outfield of Edmead, Marino and Parker. That would have been a great combination.

  10. Una lastima muy grande que se fué a destiempo, yo jugué Beisbol Profesional, de igual manera jugué para Pittsburg Pirates, y tambien jugué para Jhonny Lipon como mi manager en Prince Williams (Clase A), Virginia y Nashua Newhamshire, (Doble), una gran persona, fuí firmado por Neftali Cruz, quien siempre me habló de las grandes cualidades como persona y jugador de Alfred, solo Dios sabe porque pasan las cosas

  11. I played with the Pirates, I was Signed by Pablo Cruz in 1998 and he always have a prayer to that baseman. Well Only God Knows.

  12. I remember that game and incident as if it were yesterday. When my father picked us up after the game I told him I thought Edmead was seriously hurt if not dead. Him not being at the game it was hard for him to comprehend until reading about it later. he played the game he loved up to the very last second of his life, which is a tribute not only to him but to anyone who follows their dream.

  13. He used to call my dad his ¨Chivito¨ (little goat), i always heard about him, since i was a little kid, my mom told me once that she never saw my dad crying fon any reason until Alfredo dies, so many year after his sadly death my dad still talk about him as one of the best players that he has seen , but not only as a good player but also as a excellent , smart, lovely, respectfull and always correctly gentlemen, as a things of destiny i become a part of the family for 4 years, i will always be thankfull for they treatment to me, thank you guys for everything (Doña Rosa, Tio Agu, Tia Inés, Belkis,Guida, Leonie & Tio Mimillo.
    In the Name Of the Velasquez Caminero´s family our love and respect for all of you!

  14. It pains me to read about Alfredo Edmead and his untimely death at age 18. I was a pitcher in the Carolina League in 1974 as a member of the Peninsula Pennants (Hampton, Va) ball club. I was often victimized by the outstanding bat of
    Edmead and his equally-talented teamate, Miguel Dilone. Playing the Salem Pirates was always a challenge and with John Candeleria on the hill beating them was nearly impossible. I had heard about the Edmead incident and was friends with Murray Gage-Cole through our competition the year before when Gage-
    Cole was part of the Spartanburg Phillies and I was a member of the Charlotte Twins. Edmead had the ability to be a great one (Clemente, Dilone and the like)

    • hey lew, i just read your comment and i vaguely remember the incident. i was at visalia in the california league, but of course, the year before, you and i had driven to spring training in your volkswagon bug, march of 1973, stopping at the astrodome and new orleans–and how both of those have changed! hope you are well, my friend.
      craig cacek
      ccacek@westviewschool.com

      • Al Edmead was the Real Deal!
        Craig, What happend to you? If memmory serves me right, you could definately hit a baseball!

        Is good to hear from you and all who came to read this article about the great young talent that was Al Edmead!

  15. I lived in Newport News, and attended many Pennant games. I also was a huge Pirate fan. I still have a ball with Edmeads and yours too Lew, autugraph. That was a great summer as a kid. Me and my friends loved the Pennants. Thanks for the memories Lew.

  16. I just read about Alfredo Edmead in Playboy. What a tragedy. I was living in Hampton, Virginia at the time and went to a few Pennant games. The Playboy article included information from the coroner who did the autopsy on Alfredo. He stated that Alfredo’s skull was the thinnest he had ever seen and that had he been hit by a pitch, even with a helmet on, he might not have made it. Howard Haak signed both Alfredo and Clemente and he said Alfredo was the best find of his career. What might have been.

  17. para recordar el 37 aniversario de su muerte voy hacer una anecdota. llegue a mi casa una tarde del verano del ano 73 y encontre a mi hermano raul, acompanado de alfredito y otro amigo. en ese momento mi mama me dio tremendo voche (reprimenta) por haberme quemado en algebra. me senti muy apenado y avergonzado con ellos, alfredito al verme asi me dijo,” no te preocupe chile desde manana ve bien tempranito a mi casa que yo te voy a ayudar con el elgebra”. aprendi con el en cuatro semana, lo que no habia aprendido en el ano entero. gracias alfredito ! siempre te tengo presente.

  18. Mi nombre es Quilvio Rodriguez, fui amigo cercano de Alfredito, como si fuera en este instante recuerdo conmocionado la noticia de su muerte. no era posible creerlo, en el momento que sucedia la tragedia nos encontrabamos reunidos en la casa de nuestro gran amigo, Frank Ignacio, muerto tragicamente tambien,, planiificando su recibimiento al pais que se aproximaba.Iindependientemente de la casi segura estrella del beisbol que perdimos, el ser humano , el amigo. el dominicano, !!cuanto amaba alfredito a su Quisqueya!!! que se nos fue constituyo una perdida iconmensurable. Despues de 35 anos, se agiganta su estadia entre nosotros..!!!loor a tu memoria, gran numero siete.

  19. El lunes 22 de agosto, se cumpliran 37 anos de este fatal accidente,y todavia recuerdo conmocionado el momento que recibi la noticia, pues fui amigo cercano de Alfredito, La misma noche del dia de su muerte nos habiamos reunidos en la casa, del amigo comun, Frank Ignacio, muerto tragicamente tambien, para coordinar todo lo relativo al gran recibimiento que le ibamos a tributar en su proximo retorno.. !!Que paradojas tiene la vida!!! Recibimos su cadaver… con Alfredito se nos fue un gran amigo, un excelente ser humano, un fino y joven caballero, !!!cuanto amaba a su pais!!!!! Loor eterna a su memoria

  20. I grew up in Roanoke and was at the game. We were all in shock, and when they announced Alfredo’s death at the end of the game, the shock and grief were tremendous. The stadium was small, alot of the same people came to most of the games, and the players were accessible. I don’t think saying there was a “one big family” thing happening is too far off the mark, so the players and fans were pretty close. EVERYONE loved Pablo, and his grief was so heavy that everyone really felt for him. And Alfredo was such a nice gentleman, and SO good, that the loss was was a huge tragedy. I’ll never forget it. He would have been a great Pirate.

  21. My name is Carlos Alfredo Bargallo Edmead im one of Alfredo nephew’s i never had the chance to meet him but all of my aunts and uncle told me many stories about him first time i read this article and gives me the chills knowing Alfredo was going to be one of the best players all time


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