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Reuters photographer Mike Cassese passes away.

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer

In my locker at work I have a copy of the book "From See to See: National Newspaper Awards: 50 Years of Photojournalism", it covers the winning images of the awards until 1998. Every so often I take the book out with me to try to get the photographers that have won in the past to sign their page.

The page with the 1992 Sports Photography is unsigned. Unfortunately I never got Mike Cassese to sign his page, I never thought I would have trouble getting him to sign that page. I saw him at games and events around the city all the time.

Mike passed away this week.

Mike was a super nice guy and a great photographer, our Canadian photo community is mourning his loss. We miss him.

Mike was a staffer at the Toronto Sun before leaving to freelance, mostly for Reuters.

That 1992 picture was taken for the Toronto Sun at the World Series, Mike had captured Kelly Gruber tagging Deion Sanders for what would have been the final out on the first triple play in World Series since 1920. The umpire missed the call, Mike did not miss the picture.

Here is page 98 unsigned in my copy of "From See to See" I thought I had a lot of time left to get Mike to sign the page. Mike shot the image while a staffer at the Toronto Sun.

I considered Mike one of the best baseball photographers in North America.

His baseball pictures were amazing.

He followed up that 1992 World Series with another National Newspaper Award with another baseball picture.

This picture of Justin Morneau won Mike his second National Newspaper Award for Sports Photography. Mike spoke about the story behind capturing this moment on the News Photographer's Association of Canada's website.


Here is a collection of other examples of Mike's work that made it into the pages of the Toronto Star, interspersed with some comments, thoughts and memories from Toronto Star staff that have worked beside Mike.

Toronto Blue Jays batter Edwin Encarnacion breaks his bat on a ground out against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball in Toronto September 13, 2012.

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus misses a hit by Baltimore Orioles batter Mark Reynolds during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto May 28, 2012. 


Remembering the great times I had with Mike on road trips while on assignment for our papers. Helpful, soft spoken and always a real pro.

                                                            -Bernard Weil, photographer


Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Roy Halladay tosses the ball to first base to get the out on Detroit Tigers batter Sean Casey during the second inning of their American League baseball game in Toronto April 13, 2007.

Toronto Blue Jays batter Alex Gonzalez is hit by a pitch during the sixth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Toronto April 12, 2010. 


Several years ago, Mike and I were down in Dunedin covering the Jays' Spring Training. We were the only two photographers covering them on a daily basis for a couple of weeks, he for Reuters and me for The Star. We went out to eat almost every night and one night a waitress called him 'Turbo' out of the blue. I can't imagine a less apt name for him as he was always cool and collected and would quietly go on about his business and get the job done well. The other strange part of that trip was towards the end of the trip when after our 14th dinner together in a row we were walking along the beach and I turned to him and asked if we were now officially dating!  Miss you Turbo!

                                                 -Richard Lautens, Photographer


Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill dives to take a hit away from Baltimore Orioles batter Brian Roberts (not pictured) during the seventh inning of their American League baseball game in Toronto, August 9, 2006.

Toronto Blue Jays Reed Johnson makes a diving catch on a ball hit by Oakland Athletics Dan Johnson during the seventh inning of their American League baseball game in Toronto, May 10, 2006. 

New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez grimaces after being hit on the left forearm by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan during the seventh inning of American League action in Toronto, September 16, 2005.

 Fans hold Madonna photos as New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez (L) waits to bat against the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto, July 11, 2008.


We will all miss our beloved Mikey. I feel lucky to have seen him at a recent party and get one of his big bear hugs.

                                                -Wanda Goodwin, Picture Editor 

Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich is doused by his players after the Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th CFL Grey Cup championship football game in Toronto, November 25, 2012.

Toronto Argonauts running back Chad Kackert ( R) scores a touchdown behind Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Armando Murillo during the second half of their CFL football game in Toronto, September 8,  2012. 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip (L) and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (R) wear 3D glasses to watch a demonstration of 3D-film production at Pinewood Toronto Studios in Toronto July 5, 2010. 



I'd like to add a quote from 18th century English poet William Wordsworth,
"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
                           Thanks again my friend!
                                   -Andrew Wallace, Photographer


NDP leader Jack Layton (L) and his wife Olivia Chow arrive by bicycle for Ed Mirvish's funeral service in Toronto July 13, 2007. "Honest Ed" Mirvish, a colorful Toronto businessman who restored theaters, produced musicals, and ran a brash and cavernous discount store, died on July 11 at the age of 92.

Janet Baker (R), the mother of slain Canadian soldier Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker, and a family member carry roses to the hearse carrying his casket during a repatriation ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Trenton February 15, 2010. Corporal Baker of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment was killed and four others were injured in a training accident on a range located approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Kandahar City, Afghanistan on February 12. 

Patricia Steward holds her 11-month son Brayden as he receives his H1N1 pandemic vaccine from a nurse at the The East York Civic Centre clinic in Toronto October 29, 2009. 

Japan's Empress Michiko smiles from her car window while leaving the Momiji Seniors Centre in Toronto July 10, 2009. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are on an official visit to Canada from July 3-14. 


    Just last week, at the Raptors/Magic game, Mike was busting some balls (myself and Steve Russell's) as we edited the game. Mike, someone I have known for over 20 years, will surely be missed by those in our small circle, not to mention by family and friends and most of all, by his two sons. 

    Cassese was one of those "good guys" who was fair minded, knew what did and didn't matter, and wouldn't stab anyone in the back. Mike will be missed whether its waiting for hours for some celebrity to whizz past us at TIFF or marvelling at how he got a frame from a baseball game that I never saw. Its that simple. Now there's another hole in the lineup. I just hope Mike has linked up with Tommy (Tom Hanson) and Shaun (Shaun Best) and the three of them are sucking down brews and hitting fairways!

                                            -Rick Madonik



Actor Jackie Chan gestures during the news conference for "The Myth" at the 30th International Film Festival in Toronto, September 15, 2005. 

An unidentified woman grieves on the steps of St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto, September 19, 2001, during a memorial service for David Michael Barkway, a victim of the attacks at The World Trade Center in New York. Barkway was a managing director for BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto and wasat a meeting at One World Trade Center when it was hit by a hijacked airplane.

Workers squeegee water off the court during a rain delay at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 9, 2010.

Camilo Villegas of Colombia hits out of the sand trap on the ninth hole during the final round of the 90th PGA Championship golf tournament at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan August 10, 2008.

Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson dunks against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto November 4, 2012.

Toronto Raptors injured forward Chris Bosh (R) gives instructions to teammate T.J. Ford during a time-out against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto December 10, 2006.

Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson (front) is fouled by Dallas Mavericks forward Elton Brand during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto December 14, 2012.

Toronto Raptors' Vince Carter walks past coach Lenny Wilkens (rear) as Carter leaves the game against the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter in Toronto, March 1, 2002. The Raptors extended their losing streak to 10 games, losing 91-81 to Portland.

Ottawa Senators forward Brian McGrattan (L) sticks out his tongue as he fights with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Wade Belak during first period play in their NHL preseason game in Toronto, September 18, 2005.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his teammate Marian Hossa's (not pictured) goal in front of Detroit Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg (C) and goalie Chris Osgood (L) in Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey final in Detroit June 2, 2008.

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Toronto, March 24, 2009.  

Nicole Forrestor gestures after winning the Women High Jump event at the Track and Field Canadian Trials in Windsor, Ontario, July 6, 2008. 

Canada defender Martina Franko (L) battles Brazil midfielder Formiga for the ball during the first half of their international friendly soccer match in Toronto July 10, 2008. 

Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans (C) heads the ball against Tauro FC goalkeeper Alvaro Anzola (L) during the first half of their CONCACAF Champions league soccer match in Toronto September 20, 2011. 

Jeffrey Buttle skates his Senior Men Free Program at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa, Ontario January 14, 2006. Buttle won the event to repeat as the Canadian Champion, with Emanuel Sandhu finishing in second place.

Meagan Duhamel (L) and Eric Radford of Canada skate their pairs short program during Skate Canada International in Kingston October 29, 2010.

February 22, 2011 - An avid golfer Reuters Photographer Mike Cassese putts towards Toronto Star Photographer Rene Johnston as they wait in the parking lot at  the Cecil B. Englebert Complex, in Dunedin, for players to arrive for the day at spring training.   DAVID COOPER

Reuters Photographer Mike Cassese (right) and Canadian Press photographer Nathan Denette (rear) jokingly jump in behind Blue Jays Left Handed Pitcher David Purcey #25 holding up one of his size 18 shoes, the biggest on the club. - DAVID COOPER


Funeral arrangements for Mike,

Visitation is Saturday, December 29, 2012, from 6-9. Sunday from 2-4 and 6-9 at the Jerrett Funeral Home 1141 St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto. Mike's funeral will be Monday morning, 10 a.m., at St Clares Church 1118 St Clair Clair Avenue almost across from the funeral parlour. 




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One of the good guys in life and he will be sorely missed.

Great tribute to a great man...Mike will be missed by all...Stuart Dryden, photographer, Calgary Sun

This is so sad to read! I looked forward to seeing Mike every year when I volunteered in the media centre at the Rogers Cup in Toronto! He was always so nice - and even once taught me photographer etiquette while letting me play 'assistant' photographer with him on the Grandstand! I will miss seeing his smiling face :((( RIP!

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