Today in Tribe History: January 3, 2004

The sad story of Leon Wagner comes to an end, as the former Cleveland Indians outfielder is found dead while homeless in Los Angeles, California. He was 69 years old.

“Daddy Wags” spent a dozen years in the Major Leagues, playing with the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and the expansion Los Angeles Angels, where he was a two-time All-Star. He was dealt to Cleveland amidst rumors that his California business was failing and that he owed the Angels money on a loan. He spent parts of five seasons with the Indians, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 100 in 1964 in his first season with the club.

The “Good Humor Man” played with the Chicago White Sox before a return to the Giants to end his career. He ran his own clothing store and worked in Hollywood, appearing in a couple of movies, but ultimately lost everything, battled substance abuse, and found himself homeless, despite the outreach of many former teammates, including Jim “Mudcat” Grant.

Also on this date in Tribe history:

1961: Frank “Trader” Lane quits as the general manager of the Cleveland Indians to take the same role with the Kansas City Athletics. Frantic Frank is replaced by Gabe Paul, although the Indians were believed to covet former manager Al Lopez for the role. Lane had signed a three-year contract with the Indians to continue as GM on February 25, 1960.

Related Posts

Today in Tribe History: June 25, 2011

In one of the more unfortunate and unusual losses of the season, the Indians fell to the San Francisco Giants, 1-0, as the lone run of the…

Today in Tribe History: June 24, 1997

Less than three years after signing with the club, 21-year-old right-hander Jaret Wright makes his Major League debut in front of a packed Jacobs Field crowd and…

Today in Tribe History: June 23, 1968

For the sixth time this season, Luis Tiant throws a complete game shutout as he and his Cleveland teammates blank the Detroit Tigers, 3-0.

Today in Tribe History: June 22, 2001

The Cleveland Indians acquire the highly controversial John Rocker from the Atlanta Braves with a minor leaguer for relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed.

Today in Tribe History: June 21, 1956

The “Red Baron”, Rick Sutcliffe, is born in Independence, Missouri.

Today in Tribe History: June 20, 1951

Cleveland gets an impressive day at the plate from second baseman Bobby Avila as the Indians knock off the Boston Red Sox, 14-8.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.