Billy Evans, the man who would be the first to bear the title of “general manager” of the Cleveland Indians, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
Evans was involved in the game at an early age, becoming the youngest umpire in Major League history while working in the American League at the age of 22 in 1906. He would spend 22 years in the role while also working as a sportswriter.
Following his umpiring career, one that put him to work in six different World Series, Evans became the first GM of the Tribe following his retirement from umpiring in 1927. He spent nine years in the role for the Indians and the club responded with steady improvements during his tenure. He is often credited with the signings of Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Hal Trosky, among others. He left the club in 1935 after a salary dispute and became farm director of the Boston Red Sox.
He returned to Cleveland but in a new venture, working as the general manager of the National Football League’s Cleveland Rams for one season before becoming president of the Southern Association. He returned to the Majors in 1946 with the Detroit Tigers, working as the club’s executive vice president and general manager until he retired in 1951. He suffered a stroke in Miami, Florida, in 1956 and is buried in Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Height, Ohio. His involvement in the game of baseball was rewarded with his posthumous enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.