Today in Tribe History: February 7, 1959
Bob Toth | On 07, Feb 2016
Long-time member of Cleveland’s American League baseball franchise and its one-time namesake, Nap Lajoie, passes away from pneumonia. He was 84 years old.
Lajoie was a member of the second Hall of Fame class in 1937 for his efforts within the game. After debuting just short of his 22nd birthday with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies in 1896, he joined the Philadelphia Athletics and led the league with a .426 average, 48 doubles, 14 home runs, and 125 RBI in the American League’s inaugural season in 1901. After just one game with the club in 1902, he was granted his free agency from Philly (due to a court injunction by his former team, the Phillies, who were trying to prevent him from playing with any other team in Philadelphia) and signed with the Cleveland Bronchos a month later.
By 1905, he was working as both the club’s starting second baseman and its manager, a role he held through the first two-thirds of the 1909 season. He remained a regular in the Naps lineup through the 1914 season when, at the age of 40, he was sold back to the Philadelphia Athletics.
He played two more seasons with the A’s, ending his career nine days short of his 42nd birthday.