Baseball legend Edison ‘Ed’ Armbrister laid to rest

Pastor Dave Burrows is flanked by members of the clergy.

Pastor Dave Burrows is flanked by members of the clergy.


Ed Armbrister’s wife Rosell Armbrister with a friend at the funeral. Photos courtesy of Athama Bowe


Senior Sports Reporter


EDISON ‘Ed’ Armbrister was not just remembered on Saturday for his controversial bunt in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, but for being one of the few Bahamians to win two world titles in any sport.

Armbrister, who passed away briefly on March 17 at the age of 72, was funeralised at Bahamas Faith Ministries where Pastor Dave Burrows recalled their youthful days growing up in Harlem, as they called their neighbourhood.

Burrows, in his eulogy, said while he grew up with Armbrister’s brother Jonathan, he got to know Ed, whom they later served, like so many other family members, including their deceased parents, at BFM.

After going down a colourful memory lane, depicting what it was like with his connection to the Armbrister family as a teenager as they shared some familiar adventures in Harlem, Burrows said baseball was a big part of their lives and (Ed) Armbrister was considered a celebrity.

“Everybody talked about his baseball exploits,” Burrows said. “I got to know him much better when he came to BFM because I was a baseball player, who also excelled in basketball.

“We talked about baseball and about life and about different things and then I had an occasion when I had to get a player off to college.”

Burrows said after talking to Armbrister, he told him to tell the coach that the league they played in is equivalent to the minor league from single A to AA.

When he called the coach back and he told him who his reference was, the coach didn’t hesitate in giving the young man the scholarship.

“He was the first of a very small group that includes Mychal Thompson, Rick Fox and Klay Thompson. These are Bahamians with two world championship rings,” Burrows said. “He was truly a part of a very rare group.


Michael Butler pays his respects.

“And sometimes, we do celebrate our heroes and sometimes we forget our heroes. We forget their accomplishments. I pray that a book, or a movie or something is done so we can truly have his memory immortalised in Bahamian history so people can know who it was that passed this way.”

From that controversial bunt that changed the series, Burrows said whenever he encounters Boston fans and he tells them he’s from the Bahamas and he knows Armbrister, they wanted to curse him.

Armbrister, according to Burrows, was in good company when he laid down the bunt with legendary players like Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey Sr on his team.

“After he returned home, he decided to give back, in terms of mentoring young men,” Burrows pointed out. “Many young men I’m sure can testify because in talking to Jeff Francis (a baseball fanatic and member of BFM as well) and he told me about the work that Ed and others did in mentoring young men.”

In a fitting tribute on behalf of the Community Baseball League where they worked with so many young men, Michael Butler said Armbrister possessed a humble spirit but he was willing to reach out compassionately to those in need.

“Ed was very patriotic and had a great love for his country and his countrymen,” Butler said. “That is what I remember most about him.”

About 26 years ago, they became friends in the Nassau Baseball League where Armbrister was the manager of the TCBY Waffle Cones, while Butler was with Buttons Formal Wear as a player.

“I then worked along with Ed Armbrister in the formation of the Community Baseball League, which came a few years later after the formation of the Ed Armbrister Baseball League in 2011,” Butler recalled.

“There were other camps that we felt that we could join up with and formed the Community Baseball League at the Flamingo Park in the Carmichael Road because we wanted to use all of our resources to impact more young people.”

Butler said he hopes that they can be a part of the negotiations for anything to memorialise Armbrister because they are quite aware of his commitment and dedication to the young people in the Bahamas.


Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell makes his tribute.

Armbrister did all of that after he returned home from playing in the Major League. He was just one of seven Bahamians to play at the highest level in the sport, but the only one to win two world titles with Cincinnati from 1972-1976 when the Reds also captured three pennants.

He was a utility player for the Reds, better known as the Big Red Machine. He was best remembered for successfully executing a controversial bunt in the bottom of the 10th inning of game three of the 1975 World Series.

At the time, Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk argued that Armbrister interfered with his pursuit of the bunt, which moved team-mate Cesar Geronimo from first to third base and put Armbrister on second with Fisk’s throwing error.

Three batters later, Joe Morgan’s single to centre scored Geronimo and the Reds won the game, 6-5, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Long time baseball executive Athama Bowe, who also spoke during the service, said wherever he goes Armbrister’s name is one that has been revived as a Bahamian in Major League.

Bowe spelt out Armbrister’s initials in his name as ERA (earned run average), who went to the United States to showcase the Bahamas and to make some money.

He said the bunt could have easily been called the Nassau Street slide, now you see it, now you don’t because it worked for Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who did a dive across the finish line for her Olympic gold medal.

“Ed was quiet,” Bowe said. “God put us here to make a difference in the lives of others, not to be caught up in oneself. So I got close to him to find out some things about him.”

Armbrister was the last of the early group of five baseball players who went on to play in the Majors. His death follows the departure of Andre Rodgers, Tony Curry, Wenty Ford and Wilfred Culmer.

The only two remaining Major League baseball players left are Antoan Richardson, who played with both the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees and is now a first coach with the San Francisco Giants, along with Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm, who is playing with the Miami Marlins.

Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell, also paying tribute, said Armbrister left an inheritance as a reputation and a name for his family to call on. “We can say that this afternoon without fear or contradiction because Ed lived a full life, three score and ten, plus two,” he said.

“He had an opportunity that many only dream of.

“Yet, having walked in the spotlight, we can still recall him as a humble gentleman walking through the community of Sunset Park. I hear he was quiet, but I may have rattled him a bit. He said ‘you and your people have moved my baseball stuff. Get them back so I can take care of my people.’”

On behalf of the government and the people of the Bahamas, Campbell said Armbrister lived a life that made everyone proud and his life will inspire the young people to do more because of the bar that he set.

Although he didn’t speak, Roosevelt Archer, a long-time baseball/softball player, said one of the best ways the Bahamas can remember Armbrister’s name is to rename the road from West Bay Street to the round-a-bout at Thompson Boulevard as the Ed Armbrister Boulevard because it covered the area where he grew up in Harlem and made a name for himself as a baseball legend.

Following the service, Armbrister’s body was interred in a private ceremony in Lakeview Memorial Gardens Mausoleums on Saturday.

He leaves behind his wife Rosella and children Dr Phyllis Armbrister, Dionne Armbrister, Alexis Armbrister and Edda Armbrister-Davis and a host of family and friends. May his soul rest in peace.


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