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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Longtime GM, executive dies after surgery
By TIMES WIRES
Published September 20, 2006
BALTIMORE - Syd Thrift, who spent nearly a half-century in baseball, died at 77.
He had knee replacement surgery Monday in Milford, Del., and died that night, said the Orioles, one of many teams for whom he worked. An autopsy will be performed.
"He was a great baseball man - both on and off the field - who dedicated his life to the game," commissioner Bud Selig said.
Mr. Thrift became general manager of the Pirates in 1985 and gave Jim Leyland his start as a manager. He put together teams that won division titles in 1990, '91 and '92.
"Syd Thrift was passionate about the game of baseball," Pirates managing general partner Kevin McClatchy said.
Leyland said he talked to Mr. Thrift about two weeks ago and he "sounded fine." The Tigers manager was shocked to hear he had died.
"We were talking about the (Tigers)," Leyland said. "He'd see all the games. He had that (TV) package where he'd see a lot of our games."
Mr. Thrift's career began in 1949, when he joined the Yankees' minor-league organization. Among the teams he worked for was the Royals, for whom he founded their renowned academy; Yankees and Orioles as vice president of baseball operations; and Devil Rays as a scout until retiring in 2004.
"He was an innovator. He wasn't afraid to take a chance," said Mike Flanagan, the Orioles' VP of baseball operations. "He had a very interesting personality. He was colorful, and quotable."
He is survived by his wife, Dolly, sons Jim and Mark and five grandchildren.