Saturday, July 19, 2008

Three Quick Obits

Dave Ricketts was a Cardinals bull pen catcher for many years. I knew him from my Cardinal Yearbooks of 1967-68. He was a back up cathcher to those two pennant winning teams and he wore...gasp..glasses, which ultimeatly made him cooler than cool. Over his career he batted .249 with 1 home run and 20 runs batted in in 130 games played. Apparently he was well loved and respected by his peers and that is all a man needs. He died of renal cancer (ouch) at the age of 73. His wikipedia page here

Mel Galley was a member of Trapeze and Whitesnake although is work with Trapeze is some of the finest in the rock genre. Here's the review of "Medusa" from Trapeze from the all music guide...Not only is Medusa the finest offering from '70s outfit Trapeze, it is one of the decade's most underappreciated hard rock recordings. With a lineup that consisted of future Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath members, there seems to be proof that at least a few fellow musicians appreciated this 1971 offering. Fans of his later work might be surprised by Glenn Hughes' soulful vocal delivery, especially on the mid-tempo blues-rockers like "Black Cloud" and "Your Love Is Alright." Guitarist Mel Galley also deserves mention for his sparse approach to classic rock riffing that is catchy and affective. Even the ballads are focused, memorable, and unique. There are some melodic moments on the closing title track that sound almost as if a '90s alt-rock crooner composed them. Considering that Medusa predates many similar, and more successful, classic rock LPs from the likes of Bad Company, Nazareth, Foreigner, and others, it's a wonder that the record isn't mentioned more when influential albums of this era are discussed.
All I know is as a 15 year old kid who was listening to "Medusa", that was one heavy and almost scary recording. "Black Cloud" is still played on KSHE. Here's the all music guide take on Trapeze....Wolverhampton, England hard rock outfit Trapeze formed in 1968, teaming lead vocalist John Jones and guitarist/keyboardist Terry Rowley (both ex-members of the Montanas, famed for the hit "You've Got to Be Loved") with singer/guitarist Mel Galley, bassist Glenn Hughes, and drummer Dave Holland. Signing to the Moody Blues' Threshold Records imprint, Trapeze issued its self-titled debut album in 1970; Jones and Rowley returned to the Montanas soon after, and in 1970 the remaining trio resurfaced with Medusa. The group toured extensively both at home and abroad, and although their fusion of rock and funk was cited as a prime influence on bands like ZZ Top, their commercial success was minimal. In the wake of the third Trapeze album, 1972's You Are the Music...We're Just the Band, Hughes replaced Roger Glover in Deep Purple. Guitarist Rob Kendrick and bassist Pete Wright signed on for Trapeze's 1974 effort Hot Wire, followed a year later by a self-titled LP; in 1976, the core trio of Galley, Hughes, and Holland reunited, although no new recordings were forthcoming. Hughes again exited prior to 1978's Hold On, which featured Wright in addition to new guitarist Pete Goalby; Trapeze then disbanded, with Galley joining Whitesnake (and, later, Black Sabbath), while Holland tenured with Judas Priest. Galley, Hughes, and Holland reformed once more in 1991, with a May 1992 London gig yielding the Welcome to the Real World live album. On February 7, 2008 Galley revealed that he was suffering from esophagus cancer, and had only a short time to live. "I have been very lucky. I have seen some great bands, and played with many great musicians. And I have enjoyed some tremendous experiences. I am thankful that I can say a proper goodbye to all the friends I have made, who are now rallying round me".

Slobo...if you were in either St. Louis or Kansas City in early to mid 80's, there was only one name you need to know if you follwed indoor soccer...Slobo. Slobo was the outstanding and entertaining goal keeper for the St. Louis Steamers who would consistantly fill Kemper Arena playing the hometown Comets. Slobo was much more than a goalkeeper, he was somebody all the fans could rally around. Slobodan "Slobo" Ilijevski, 58, a fan favorite on the St. Louis Steamers, died Monday (July 14, 2008) night at St. Joseph Hospital Bellingham, Wash. after suffering from a pre-existing, non-diagnosed aortic dissection. He was participating Saturday in a national soccer tournament in Seattle for the Kutis Over 55 men's team representing St. Louis.During his last game, a semifinal match Saturday, he suffered pain after a high ball save and complained of stomach pain and dizziness. After a CT scan, doctors discovered that blood was leaking from a rupture in the wall of his aorta.Ilijevski went through 13 hours of surgery and died while still on life support Monday evening. In the Major Indoor Soccer League's heyday, crowds of 18,000-plus would pack the former Arena and chant "Slobo, Slobo, Slobo!" The Macedonian goalie for the Steamers, the Storm and the Ambush, helped the teams reinvent themselves repeatedly to keep pro soccer in St. Louis. Mr. Ilijevski was notable in the young sport of indoor soccer for his bold, wandering style. He racked up record saves and wins. In 1980, prospects of a better life in the United States looked bleak for the goalkeeper from Yugoslavia; his visa was about to expire and he had two failed tryout attempts with MISL teams in Philadelphia and Chicago. A friend from Detroit had arranged for Mr. Ilijevski to meet Steamers coach Pat McBride. With six goalies already at camp, he knew the odds of getting on the team were slim, but he had only $20, so he took a chance.His visa expiration date was Oct. 30. He signed with the Steamers on Oct. 28. From then on, he quickly became an indoor soccer favorite, first with the Steamers and later with the Ambush."He was the best during the MISL era," said Terry Nicholl, a former opponent who played with the Wichita Wings. "He set the standard for keepers to follow. He was consistent, rarely made errors. He was solid and his feet and reflexes were outstanding. We would try to put him on, but he was so solid mentally. Some keepers you could distract easily in indoor soccer, but not him."Mr. Ilijevski carried his work ethic with him off the field as well."Slobo and I came up at the same time. He was very fit for his age, his work ethic was second to none," said Tony Glavin, former teammate and later coach with the Steamers. "Even though he was 10 years my senior, he certainly didn't use it in a negative way when I became coach. He was nothing but great to work with. When the team was having financial difficulties, Slobo stayed and accepted less money; he was just that kind of person. The man played through his 40s in professional soccer, which is phenomenal."Glavin and other former teammates kept in touch after he retired in 1993. "Slobo was a family guy. His wife Linda and two sons Lucas and Andrew were his life," said Steve Pecher, a former teammate. "On the field, he was the best indoor keeper. He redefined the role of goalkeepers for indoor soccer. He was a true professional on and off the turf."After retiring from professional soccer, Mr. Ilijevski went into real estate. His business ventures included apartment buildings in Clayton and University City. He still kept busy with soccer, running summerlong soccer camps for kids throughout the area and organizing an old-timers' game to benefit local charities. He spent his last three years living in San Diego.Tim Walters, a former Steamer player, now a middle school teacher in the Rockwood School District, was competing at the same tournament in Seattle."It was a great chance for all of us guys to get together for a little competition and to have some fun," Walters said. "The next thing you know, it's serious. A couple of games before that game, I saw him make one of the best saves I have ever seen him make on a penalty kick — it was prime-time Slobo."


Brian Holland said...

Was very saddened to learn of Slobo's passing. As major-mondo Comets fans, my friends an I often hurled invective at Slobo, but we always respected him. No doubt about it--he was the Ozzie Smith of St. Louis indoor soccer. Rest in peace, Slobo...

Mike Watermann said...

Slobo was a very good friend of mine. We recently reconnected by e-mail after he and Linda moved to San Diego. My family supported the Steamers in the lean years and through ownership changes for the team. Slobo and Tony Glavin personally taught soccer to my sons, which resulted in a coaching/teaching position for Jason at a KC high school, and a college scholarship for Brandon (who still plays in outdoor and indoor leagues).

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