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Indians hero Boudreau dies at 84

By MARC TOPKIN and Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 11, 2001

CLEVELAND -- Lou Boudreau was everything for the Indians in 1948.

He managed them, played shortstop and batted third.

He was the AL MVP, homered twice to win a one-game playoff for the pennant, and most memorably, brought them their last World Series championship.

Mr. Boudreau, a Hall of Fame shortstop who as player-manager led the Indians to the '48 title, died Friday in Olympia Fields, Ill. He was 84.

He was brought into St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Olympia Fields on Friday afternoon in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead there, said hospital spokeswoman Julie Miller.

"He was the greatest shortstop I ever saw," Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller said. "He was afraid of nobody. He was a great manager, teammate and friend. Just a great man. There is not a more gracious man than Lou Boudreau.

"There have not been many better all-around players than he was."

He had been hospitalized recently for circulatory problems.

Mr. Boudreau, a slick-fielding shortstop for 13 seasons, was American League MVP in '48 after batting .355 with 18 homers and 106 RBI.

He capped the season by going 4-for-4 with two homers as the Indians won a one-game playoff over the Boston Red Sox to advance to the Series, where they beat the Boston Braves in six games.

Mr. Boudreau, who was born on July 17, 1917, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970, the same year the native of Harvey, Ill., had his No. 5 jersey retired by the Indians.

Mr. Boudreau managed Cleveland from 1942-50, compiling a 728-649 record. He also managed the Red Sox (1952-54), Kansas City (1955-57) and the Chicago Cubs in 1960. He went 1,162-1,224 overall.

He also was a popular radio broadcaster for the Cubs for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1988.

Rays TV broadcaster Dewayne Staats worked with Mr. Boudreau in 1985 and '86 in the Cubs radio booth.

"He was outstanding," Staats said. "He had a great knack for anticipating what was going on in the game as an analyst. If you were to grade him from a technical standpoint he wouldn't be a great broadcaster, but he was a great guy next door to talk baseball with and to learn baseball from. During all those losing years the Cubs had, people could relate to him as a good guy and as a great baseball man."

Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo made his major-league debut for Mr. Boudreau in 1960 at third base for Chicago.

"Lou knew how to get the best out of you. ... You better give 100 percent because he wasn't afraid to get in your face," he said. "He was a player's manager. He could sit down with you and speak the language."

During his MVP season, Mr. Boudreau, a seven-time All-Star, struck out nine times in 560 at-bats.

He captained the baseball and basketball teams at Illinois before beginning his pro career in 1938 as a minor-league third baseman.

He made his big-league debut in 1940 with the Indians, and in his first full season he was named to the AL All-Star team and batted .295 with 101 RBI. When the Indians finished second under Oscar Vitt and fourth in 1941 under Roger Peckinpaugh, the 24-year-old Mr. Boudreau applied for the manager's job.

He was hired on Nov. 25, 1941, and became the youngest manager in history. He was dubbed the "Boy Manager" by the media.

ASTROS: Outfielder Moises Alou (strained hamstring) took batting practice. He is day-to-day.

BLUE JAYS: Raul Mondesi was day-to-day after fouling a pitch off his left big toe in the sixth inning of Thursday's 6-5 victory over the Mariners. X-rays showed the toe was not broken. Chris Latham replaced Mondesi in right and had a nice catch and a two-run double in the ninth as Toronto prevented Seattle from sweeping its 13th series.

CUBS: Pitchers Will Ohman and Joe Borowski were called up from Triple-A Iowa after reserves Gary Matthews and Miguel Cairo were claimed off waivers. Cairo, a former Ray infielder, was claimed by St. Louis. Matthews, a centerfielder, was claimed by Pittsburgh. Borowski, who has pitched with the Orioles, Braves and Yankees, is scheduled to start today against the Giants.

EXPOS: Second baseman Jose Vidro will miss at least one week with concussionlike symptoms resulting from a beanball thrown by Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt last week. GM Jim Beattie said Vidro needs three straight symptom-free days before returning.

MARINERS: Outfielder Jay Buhner, sidelined all season by a sore left arch, is expected to start a rehabilitation assignment Monday at Triple-A Tacoma.

MARLINS: Centerfielder Preston Wilson returned and started, 21/2 weeks after the death of his infant son. Wilson had been sidelined since July 2, when he was placed on the disabled list because of a thumb injury. His first child was born three months premature July 13 and died 10 days later. Wilson, who didn't want to talk about his son's death, said he was glad to rejoin the team.

REDS: Owner Carl Lindner, 82, is scheduled to leave a hospital this weekend after treatment for colitis, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

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