The move was lauded in the city by some fans, many of whom had only been following the team since its success in 1948. President Ellis Ryan and general manager Hank Greenberg both shared their belief that Lopez was a better pilot for the club than Boudreau was and that they believed that “El Lobo” could guide the team back to a pennant. The claim was not that Boudreau was a bad manager, but that Lopez was that much better.
Boudreau led the Indians to a 92-62 record in 1950, but the club finished in fourth place in the American League. Still the club’s shortstop, the Indians eliminated that complication by releasing the fired Boudreau ten days later. He was 728-649 during his time as Indians manager.
Lopez, a 42-year-old first-time MLB manager, spent 18 seasons in the game as a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Bees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and one final season with the Indians in 1947. He was named an All-Star twice during his lengthy career. After his playing days, he spent three years managing the Pirates’ Indianapolis farm club, taking the team to three straight playoff appearances and winning the league championship in 1949, one year after guiding the club to a 100-win season in his first year of managing in 1948.
The new Tribe skipper had what many would feel was an impressive list of managers he had played under during his career – he was led by Wilbert Robinson and Casey Stengel in Brooklyn, Bill McKechnie in Boston, and Frankie Frisch in Pittsburgh, and Boudreau in his season in Cleveland.