Legendary Indians slugger Al Rosen, the team’s last Most Valuable Player award winner, passes away less than two weeks after turning 91 years old.
Rosen enjoyed a ten-year run in the Major Leagues, spending his entire playing career in an Indians uniform. He debuted briefly in 1947 and emerged late in their championship 1948 season, making one plate appearance during the World Series for the club after his September call-up. He had a much more visible presence in the lineup when the club again won the American League pennant in 1954, just one season after winning the MVP.
He was an All-Star from 1952 to 1955 after getting a late start in the Majors while blocked by veteran Ken Keltner. When finally a full-time member of the team in 1950, he made an immediate impact, hitting a league-best 37 homers while driving in 116 runs. He would lead the league in RBI in 1952, driving in 105, and would repeat at the AL’s top home run and RBI guy during his ’53 MVP season when he mashed a career-best 43 homers and 145 RBI.
In addition to his time in an Indians uniform through 1956, Rosen served as president of the New York Yankees in the late 1970s and then as general manager of the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants from 1980 until 1992.
Several weeks after his passing, the Indians organization announced that the team would wear a number seven patch on their right jersey sleeves throughout the season to honor their fallen star.