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Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Westrum dies after battle with cancer
Associated Press


CLEARBROOK, Minn. -- Wes Westrum, a two-time All-Star catcher and former manager of the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 79.

Westrum died at a care facility where he had been living for the last few months, said Kelly Cease Bowman of Cease Funeral Home in Bagley, Minn.

Westrum signed with the New York Giants in September 1947, and set an International League record by hitting five grand slams during the 1949 season. He caught every game for the Giants in the 1951 and 1954 World Series, and played in the 1952 and '53 All-Star games.

He hit .217 with 96 home runs and 315 RBI in 11 major league seasons.

Westrum remained associated with the Giants when they moved from New York to San Francisco, coaching from 1958-63.

He joined the Mets as a coach during the 1964 season. When Mets manager Casey Stengel broke his hip the following season, Westrum replaced him for the remaining 68 games. He managed the Mets for the next two seasons and went 142-237.

He also managed the Giants in 1974 and '75, and went 118-129. Westrum's career managing record is 260-366.

After his stint with the Giants, Westrum became a scout for the Atlanta Braves until his retirement in 1992.

He returned to Clearbrook, the northwest Minnesota town where he grew up, to build a home in the 1960s, said his niece Nancy Goudge. He used the home in summers after leaving the Giants, but spent most winters in Arizona.

Goudge said Westrum was most proud of his league-leading .999 fielding percentage in 140 games in 1950.

''He was a really quiet man,'' Goudge said. ''He wouldn't volunteer stories.''

Westrum is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.