John "Champ" Summers Passes Away

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Published on October 12 2012 1:38 pm
Last Updated on October 12 2012 1:38 pm
Written by Millie Lange

EDWARDVILLE, Ill. – SIUE Athletics Hall of Famer and former Major League Baseball player John "Champ" Summers passed away Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with kidney cancer.

Summers played basketball and baseball while at SIUE.  He posted a .340 batting average with a team-leading seven home runs during the 1971 baseball season. In two basketball seasons from 1969 to 1971, Summers amassed 772 points in only 41 games played for an average of 18.8 points a game. The 772 points is 28th on SIUE's all-time scoring list. His average of 18.8 points a game is fifth-best. He was a member of SIUE's 2006 Athletics Hall of Fame class, the second class to be inducted.

Originally signed by the Oakland Athletics as a free agent in 1971, Summers spent 11 seasons in the Major League. Summers spent parts of three seasons with the Detroit Tigers, where he hit .293 and added 40 home runs.

Summers also played for the the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants, and the San Diego Padres. Summers was a part of the Padres 1984 National League Championship team. For his career, Summers hit .255 with 54 home runs and 218 RBIs.

Following his playing career, Summers served as the hitting coach for the New York Yankees under manager Bucky Dent from 1989-90. Summers also served as the first field manager for the Gateway Grizzlies, a member of the Frontier League of professional baseball in Sauget.

Summers is survived by his wife Joy, his mother Bette Summers, stepchildren Pamela George and Leisa Mitchell, and Joy's grandchildren Anabelle and Emmeline George.

Funeral arrangements are pending.