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Obituaries

Les Pockell; Erich Steidtmann; Billy Loes

Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella, left, talks with pitcher Billy Loes. Loes was traded to the Baltimore Orioles the next year.
Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella, left, talks with pitcher Billy Loes. Loes was traded to the Baltimore Orioles the next year. (1955 Associated Press Photo By Ed Ford)
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Les Pockell Publishing Executive

Les Pockell, 68, a publishing executive and literary anthologist known for his deep and unpredictable intellect and an eclectic range of book projects, died of cancer July 26 at his home in White Plains, N.Y.

Mr. Pockell was a vice president and associate publisher at Grand Central Publishing for the past decade. In a long publishing career, he worked at St. Martin's Press, Doubleday and the Book-of-the-Month Club before joining Warner Books, which became Grand Central, a division of Hachette Book Group USA.

He helped edit a diverse group of authors, from mystery writer Donald Westlake to literary critic Harold Bloom to the actor and children's writer John Lithgow, and Mr. Pockell compiled numerous anthologies, from "100 Essential American Poems" to "The 101 Greatest Business Principles of All Time."

Mr. Pockell was born in Norwalk, Conn., and graduated from Columbia University in 1964.

Erich Steidtmann Nazi Officer

Erich Steidtmann, 95, a former Nazi SS officer suspected but not convicted of involvement in World War II massacres, died July 25 at his home in Hannover, Germany, after a heart attack, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported.

Steidtmann was a captain in the Nazi's elite SS force; he led several battalions that allegedly carried out the mass murder of Jews and he was long sought by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization.

The center expressed its frustration to the Associated Press that Steidtmann died before he could be prosecuted.

Steidtmann was investigated several times for his alleged involvement in killings at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and in two massacres in the Polish city of Lublin.

Billy Loes Baseball Pitcher

Billy Loes, 80, a sometimes comical pitcher who played on the Brooklyn Dodgers' only World Series championship team in 1955, died July 15 at a hospice in Tucson. He had diabetes.

Mr. Loes, who was signed off the playgrounds of New York, joined the Dodgers in 1950 and had his best all-around season in 1952 with a record of 13-8 and an earned run average of 2.69.

In the 1952 World Series against the New York Yankees, he made a comment that has since entered baseball lore. When opposing pitcher Vic Raschi hit a hard ground ball that bounced off Mr. Loes's leg into right field, Mr. Loes said he lost the grounder "in the sun."

In 1955, he went 10-4 for the Dodgers during the regular season and was the losing pitcher in the second game of the World Series against the Yankees. The Dodgers went on to win the series in seven games for Brooklyn's only world title.

Mr. Loes was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1956 and made his only All-Star team the next year, when he went 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA. He retired in 1961 with a career record of 80-63.

-- From news services and staff reports


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