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Mike Sadek, popular former catcher and ‘Forever Giant,’ dies at 74


Mike Sadek tries to tag Pete Rose in 1979. Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images


Mike Sadek, known as the “Sheik,” known as a longtime Giants catcher and known as a beloved member of the organization for nearly two decades after his retirement, passed away Wednesday after a short illness in San Andreas, Calif., the Giants announced. He was 74.

Sadek started his Giants career in 1969, when they selected him in the Rule 5 draft from the Twins. He debuted in 1973 and went on to play parts of eight seasons with the Giants, his run as a mostly backup catcher ending in 1981. He never played more than 64 games in a campaign, more glove than bat, but still was a fan favorite while catching legends like Juan Marichal and Vida Blue.

He went right from the playing field to the Giants front office, working in the community relations department of the organization from 1981 until retiring in 1999.

Even when he wasn’t playing, though, he found ways back onto the field. In the 1996 film “The Fan,” Sadek was Robert De Niro’s body double when the legendary actor was throwing a baseball.

It is difficult to find anyone who devoted more time to the San Francisco Giants.

“Mike was a Forever Giant in every sense of the term,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. “He spent nearly 30 years in the Giants organization between his time as a player and his role as a member of the front office. He had a genuine love for the game and was known for getting a laugh out of his teammates when they needed it the most. Our condolences go out to the Sadek family for their loss and we extend our thoughts to his teammates and friends.”

Sadek is survived by his son, Mike Jr., daughter-in-law, Melanie, and grandchildren Jackson, Nicholas and Maxwell. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Nicole.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Valley Humane Society in Pleasanton.

 

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