I first heard of Tommy Henrich when I read David Halberstam’s book “Summer of ’49.” I’m not as familiar about the glory days of the 1950s as I wish I was, but when I read the book, I remembered Tommy.  He passed away this morning at the age of 96. He was the oldest living Yankee.

In a press release from the Yankees…

“Tommy was a darn good ballplayer and teammate,” Yogi Berra said. “He always took being a Yankee to heart. He won a lot of championships and did whatever he could to help us win. When I came up in 1947, he taught me little nuances about playing the outfield. Being around Tommy made you feel good, whether playing cards or listening to him sing with that great voice. He was a proud man, and if you knew him, he made you proud too. ”

Henrich played from 1937 to 1950. He missed three seasons while fighting in World War II, but spent all of his playing career with the Yankees.

“I am saddened by the loss of Tommy Henrich, who was truly one of my personal favorites,” commissioner Bud Selig said in statement released by Major League Baseball. “Tommy was a wonderful Yankee known for his professionalism and for his many contributions in big games throughout his All-Star career, which spanned three different decades. ‘Old Reliable’ was beloved by his Yankee teammates and played on seven World Championship teams. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest sympathy to Tommy’s family and friends.”

From the New York Times obituary comes this wonderful, unearthed quote from Casey Stengel.

“He’s a fine judge of a fly ball,” Stengel said. “He fields grounders like an infielder. He never makes a wrong throw, and if he comes back to the hotel at 3 in the morning when we’re on the road and says he’s been sitting up with a sick friend, he’s been sitting up with a sick friend.”