ANCHORAGE, Alaska—To a young generation of baseball fans, he was the gentleman who tossed tootsie roll pops to kids in the stands. Truth be told, George "Lefty" Van Brunt did much more than that for the Anchorage baseball scene. The former pitching coach of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, who worked with the Alaska Baseball League franchise for over 40 years, died on Tuesday at the age of 78.
During the 1960's, Van Brunt served as president of the Anchorage Adult Baseball League while also juggling playing and managing duties. In 1969, he was instrumental in the development and sustained success of the Glacier Pilots, helping the team win five National Baseball Congress World Series titles. During his time with the Pilots, more than 150 players made it to the big leagues, and several other Alaskan draftees had their skills honed by "Lefty."
"Lefty always went that extra mile for his love of baseball and the kids. He did so much for the baseball clinics and will be greatly missed," Glacier Pilots General Manager Jon Dyson said.