NOLA native, former major leaguer ‘Putsy’ Caballero dies at 89

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Putsy CaballeroRalph “Putsy” Caballero – a native New Orleanian who became the youngest third baseman in major league history – died Thursday, his son Ricky confirmed.

He was 89.

Caballero, who attended Jesuit and Loyola, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a 16-year-old on Sept. 9, 1944. Less than a week later, he was in the majors.

At age 22 in 1950, Caballero was a part of a youthful 1950 Phillies team that became known as the “Whiz Kids” and reached the World Series. Caballero’s teammates included Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.

Caballero played parts of eight seasons in the majors. After he retired from baseball, he owned and operated an exterminating company in New Orleans.

An online post from this summer indicated that Caballero was one of the last 24 surviving players of Major League Baseball during World War II.

Caballero was honored twice by his hometown. He was a 1994 inductee into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and a 2009 inductee into the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane; since then, he has remained involved in college sports. He works in television production of many college sporting events and served briefly as managing editor of New Orleans Metro Sports Magazine. Lenny also served for 11 years on the management…

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