Friday, April 7, 2017

Bob Cerv, RIP

Bob Cerv, 91 died yesterday in Blair, NE. Cerv was a native of Weston, NE and had lived in Blair where he had family for the past several years. The daughter who lived there is one of their 10 children. My first memory of Bob was seeing him play basketball with UN-L back in the "Bus" Whitehead days. Bob was ahead of his time as a very physical, aggressive guard. He was also the Nebraska's baseball teams first All-American. He came to the University after having seen active combat during WW II. He signed with the Yankees following has graduation in 1950. Following the 1956 season, Cerv was sold to the Kansas City  Athletics where he had his best season in 1958 when he hit .305, hit 38 home runs and had 104 RBIs. In May 1960, he was traded back to the Yankees and joined Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in the HR race.  This picture of Cerv, Manlte and Maris hung in his room at the Blair Care Facility at the time of his death.
During the summer of 1960, Jim Cain (with whom I worked in SCS), his sons Mike and Steve and I with Verlon and Tim went to a game in Kansas City with the Yankees. Maris hit 2 home runs in that game and broke the old Babe Ruth record of 60 HR's in 1961. In his career Cerv had 105 home runs, a 276 batting average with 624 hits. Following his major league career, he coached college baseball at Southeast Missouri State College and John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo, Nebraska where he also coached the men's basketball team. There is standing joke that most Czechs can figure out how they are related to each other if they talk long enough. I remember of my Dad and Mother coming home from a Vrana, Milicek, Ruzicka, Novotny, Moravec Family Reunion held in Weston, NE in the early '60's,  and Dad proudly telling me that they had figured out how we were related to the Bob Cerv Family

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