RICHARD DOWN

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - OBITUARIES -

Richard (Rick) John Down passed away Jan­uary 5, 2019, at the age of 68. Rick was born in Wyan­dotte, MI to John and Lil­lian Down. He at­tended South­gate High School, was a star stu­dent and ex­celled in base­ball and foot­ball (just ask and he would tell you). Rick was drafted out of high school in 1969 by the Mon­treal Ex­pos and later be­gan his base­ball coach­ing ca­reer as an as­sis­tant coach at the Uni­ver­sity of Ne­vada, Las Ve­gas, from 1979 to 1984. Rick moved to Ma­jor League Base­ball in 1985 as part of the Ana­heim An­gels or­ga­ni­za­tion. He be­came the manger of the Triple-A Colum­bus Clip­pers and set a fran­chise record with 95 wins in 1992. Rick’s Colum­bus team was in first place in 385 of 391 games while he was man­ager. Rick went on to be­come the Ma­jor League hit­ting coach for the New York Yan­kees, Bal­ti­more Ori­oles, Los An­ge­les Dodgers, Bos­ton Red Sox, New York Yan­kees (again) and New York Mets. In Rick’s first sea­son, the Yan­kees’ bat­ting av­er­age was the high­est Yan­kees av­er­age since 1950. Rick holds a special place in base­ball his­tory as one of the few in­di­vid­u­als hired and fired by Ge­orge Stein­bren­ner on three dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions (they were both very stub­born). Un­til his dy­ing day, he con­sid­ered Omar Mi­naya to be the worst Gen­eral Man­ager in all of base­ball. Rick loved base­ball, the men who played it and the men who coached it. Rick was more than a base­ball coach. He was also known by friends and fam­ily as a pi­o­neer of the ath­leisure fashion trend. Rick wore sweat suits to so­cial oc­ca­sions well be­fore Lu­l­ule­mon told us we could. His Nikes were al­ways spot­less and color-co­or­di­nated with his hat, and his cot­ton shirts were freshly pressed. His cologne was be­spoke and ap­plied a touch on the heavy side. He drove like a NY cab­bie and cursed like one too. He loved chess, sug­ary ce­real, vodka cran­berry cock­tails and a good weight room (not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der and no doubt some­times at the same time). He also loved his fam­ily and friends. Rick is sur­vived by his mother, Lil­lian; wife, of 40 years, Jill; daugh­ters, Darcy and Cas­san­dra; son, Richard (Boomer); and sis­ter, Pamela Gulyas. There will be a cel­e­bra­tion of Rick’s life on Jan­uary 24, 2019 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Tap House (5589 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Ve­gas, NV 89146). In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily asks that you make a do­na­tion to Lit­tle League Base­ball and Soft­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (ht tps://www.lit­tle­league. org/who-we-are/mak­ing-a-do­na­tion/) or Re­viv­ing Base­ball in In­ner Cities (http s://www.mlb.com/rbi/ways-to-do­nate), en­sur­ing Rick’s love of the game con­tin­ues in fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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