Remebering Bill Bergesch and Bill Gallo
A moment of silence was observed before the Yankees-Royals game Wednesday night in honor of a couple of guys named Bill, Bergesch and Gallo, who both died Tuesday.
Yankees fans may recall that Bill Bergesch served the team in various capacities in a 50-year career as a baseball executive, notably as general manager in the early 1980s. Bergesh, who was 89, first worked for the Yankees from 1964-67 as stadium manager after a two-year stint as assistant general manager and farm director of the Mets in their first two seasons at the Polo Grounds under former Yankee GM George Weiss.
As Yankee Stadium manager, Bergesch was instrumental in arrangements for the Papal Mass celebrated there by Pope Paul VI in October 1965 and received a medal issued by the Vatican to commemorate the occasion.
Bergesch’s other duties with the Yankees included director of scouting, vice president of player personnel and senior consultant. During his tenures with the Yankees, the team won the World Series in 1978 and 1996 and American League pennants in 1964 and 1981. He also held a variety of executive positions with the Cardinals, Athletics and Reds. As farm director of the Cardinals, Bergesch, a St. Louis native, signed future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson in 1957.
Bill Gallo, who was 88, spent more than half a century as the sports cartoonist with the New York Daily News and penciled drawings of Yankees stars from Joe DiMaggio to Derek Jeter. I got to know Bill well when we worked together at the News in the late 1980s. He loved baseball, but his real passion was boxing.
I recall a promotion the News sponsored at a mall in Jersey City in which I and Bill, Yankees stars Dave Winfield and Willie Randolph and others took part in a forum discussion.
I lived in Yonkers at the time, as did Bill, and the News sent a limousine there to pick us up. Along the way, we stopped in Manhattan to pick up Mark Breland, then a contending welterweight, and two retired champions, heavyweight Floyd Patterson and middleweight Rocky Graziano. I got an education about the fight game that day.
“Through his work as a cartoonist and columnist, Bill Gallo was the voice of generations of New Yorkers,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “My father was a frequent subject of his work, and he had tremendous respect for Bill’s talents. My family and the entire Yankees organization offer our condolences to his wife, Dolores, and the Gallo family.”