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Longtime Astros coach MacKenzie passes away

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HOUSTON -- Gordy MacKenzie, a longtime Astros Minor league coach and scout, passed away on Tuesday, the team said. He was 77 years old.

"This is truly a sad time for the Astros family," Astros director of player development Quinton McCracken said in a statement. "Gordy was an outstanding baseball man that was widely respected not only in our organization, but throughout all of baseball. He will be greatly missed. We send our heartfelt condolences to Gordy's family and many friends."

MacKenzie had served as a coach for the Astros' Gulf Coast League team since 2008. He first joined the Astros as a Minor League instructor (1999-2001) and later returned to the organization as a scout from 2004-08 before joining the Gulf Coast League club's coaching staff.

MacKenzie's distinguished career in baseball began in 1956 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Kansas City Athletics. MacKenzie, who was a catcher, made his Major League debut on August 13, 1961. He appeared in only 11 big league games, going 3-for-24.

After eight Minor League seasons as a player, he served as a Minor League manager at the Class A, Double-A and Triple-A levels for a combined 16 seasons, which included stints with the Minor League systems for Washington (1966-67), the New York Mets (1970-73), Montreal (1975-76), Kansas City (1977-79), Detroit (1983-85), San Francisco (1989) and Cleveland (1995).

MacKenzie won the Carolina League championship in 1995 and later was inducted into the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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