Motown Drummer Uriel Jones Dies at 74; Baseball Player Johnny Blanchard Dies at 76

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Uriel Jones Motown Drummer

Uriel Jones, 74, a drummer whose versatile, passionate playing fueled classic Motown hits by the Temptations, Four Tops and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, died March 24 at a Detroit area hospital of complications from a heart attack.

Mr. Jones was part of the Funk Brothers, the house band on Motown recordings. He often played with surviving Funk Brothers, who were the focus of an acclaimed 2002 documentary film, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." That film brought the players recognition that largely escaped them in Motown's 1960s heyday.

Johnny Blanchard Baseball Player

Johnny Blanchard, 76, a backup catcher for the New York Yankees who played on five World Series-winning teams and starred in the Yankees' 1961 series victory over the Cincinnati Reds, died March 25 at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn., after a heart attack.

Mr. Blanchard played with the Yankees from 1959 to 1965 and was nicknamed "Super-Sub," having spent most of his career as a backup catcher behind Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. He later played with the Kansas City Athletics and Milwaukee Braves.

Mr. Blanchard had his best season in 1961, when he hit .305, with 21 home runs and 54 runs batted in. He hit .345 in five career World Series appearances, collecting 10 hits in 29 at-bats, including two home runs in the Yankees' five-game series victory over the Cincinnati Reds in 1961.

-- News Services and Staff Reports

© 2009 The Washington Post Company