ST. PETERSBURG —The father of New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was struck and killed as he walked across a street Saturday night.
Shortly before midnight, John L. Alderson, 87, of St. Petersburg was crossing Fourth Street near 36th Avenue N when he was hit by a Jeep driven by Jeffrey W. Lachance, 21, of St. Petersburg, police said.
He died later at Bayfront Medical Center.
Lachance didn't see Alderson, said St. Petersburg police, who are still investigating the crash and had not announced any charges Sunday.
John Alderson was a retired fighter pilot who decided, while stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, that he would someday settle here so he could play baseball.
One of his sons, David Alderson, 50, of St. Petersburg said the family hasn't learned why their father was out so late, but said he may have gone out with friends perhaps to watch football games. John Alderson was "extremely healthy" and "87 going on 40," his son said.
"He played softball three times a week with the Kids N' Kubs" senior citizen softball club, he said.
Alderson's death came just 2½ weeks after the Mets hired son Sandy Alderson as their general manager.
"Our entire family is devastated by his loss," Sandy Alderson said in a statement Sunday night. "He was a beloved father and grandfather who will be deeply missed by all of us. He and I shared many baseball experiences over the years and he was excited about spring training and Opening Day at Citi Field. I am terribly saddened that we will not be able to share those new experiences together."
According to a story in the New York Daily News, Sandy Alderson and his father were close. During the Vietnam War, in which the elder Alderson flew and his son served as a Marine, the father took his son up in his jet for a demonstration flight, he told the News in a recent interview.
"I got him on a test hop and I took him up and got him sick, which was exactly what I wanted to do," Alderson told the newspaper. "But it was very enjoyable. I know Sandy'll never forget it."
To teammates in the Kids N' Kubs softball league, for players over age 75, Alderson was a pleasure to be around and a man who played with the zeal of a man far younger, said teammate Donald Osborn.
"He's a man who is extremely fast as far as running is concerned. He's the fastest we've got from home to first base," Osborn said.
Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.