R. I. P. Former Expo Scott Sanderson

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Former Expo Sanderson dies of larynx cancer

By Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

Scott Sanderson was tall, Hollywood-handsome and he was a solid pitcher for the Montreal Expos, one key part of a great class of pitchers the franchise employed in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Sanderson possessed an awesome curveball that some fans remember as falling off the table under bats.

Sanderson, 62, died Thursday of larynx cancer in smalltown Illinois, leaving behind his wife Kathleen and three kids.

Sanderson had his voice box removed last year and subsequently suffered a stroke which left him bed-ridden for months. He apparently didn’t smoke or chew tobacco.

“He was one of my best friends,’’ former teammate Tim Wallach said by text message. “As good of a person and friend you would ever know.’’

Sanderson was also very close with Terry Francona and Brad Mills and as former teammate David Palmer said in a phone interview, “Pitchers are always close, teammates for life.”

“Scott and I were teammates in A ball, Double-A and the major leagues,” Palmer said. “We were a teammates for a long time. He was just a great guy, a great person.’’

Hall of Famer Tim Raines, Bill Gullickson and Sanderson, all made the Expos roster out of the 1977 free-agent amateur draft.

Sanderson pitched for the Expos from 1978-83 and his best season was 1980 when he posted a 16-11 record with a 3.11 ERA. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, he was 9-7 with a 2.95 ERA.

He later pitched for the Chicago Cubs, the Oakland Athletics, the New York Yankees, the California Angels, the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago White Sox.

Following his career, Sanderson became a player agent, representing the likes of Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, Lance Berkman and Josh Beckett.

“He was one of the brightest players I knew,’’ former Expos trainer Ron McClain said. “A very respectful, smart and mannerly man, a wonderful guy. I am very saddened by this.’’

Although Larry Parrish said he and Sanderson came from “very different backgrounds,’’ they jelled as friends.

“Sad day,’’ Parrish said. “He was a good friend. He was godfather of my son Josh. He was a tough competitor and he showed the same makeup in his battle with cancer. Scott is out of pain and in a better place now.’’

Sanderson was also on hand for one of the most unique ways of delivering a trade news. They were at the MLB Players Association golf tourney in Orlando on Dec. 5, 1990.

“Did you guys hear about the big trade?” asked the caddy unloading the first golf bag.

San Diego Padres outfielder Joe Carter, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jay Bell and Sanderson, a free-agent, asked about the deal, before Internet and Twitter days.

The caddy explained how the Blue Jays had traded Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez.

“Who else?” Carter asked the guy lifting the bag.

“Robbie Alomar,” the caddy read the name tag on the bag and said: “Ah ... I don’t think I should be the one to tell you, but it was YOU too!’’