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 that he had played for during his Major League career – he was led by Wilbert Robinson and Casey Stengel in Brooklyn, Bill McKechnie in Boston, Frankie Frisch in Pittsburgh, and Boudreau in his season in Cleveland.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1998 – Six-time American League All-Star and two-time AL Most Valuable Player Hal Newhouser passes away at the age of 77.
Newhouser spent his first 15 seasons pitching in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, with the Tigers. He represented them in the All-Star Game in each of the six games played between 1942 and 1948. He won the AL MVP award in 1944 with a 29-9 record and repeated the feat the next season with a 25-9 record with a league-best 1.81 ERA. He finished second in 1946.
Newhouser joined the Cleveland Indians in 1954 and was 7-2 with a 2.51 ERA almost exclusively out of the bullpen for the AL pennant winning club. “Prince Hal” appeared in two more games for the Indians in 1955 before his release in May.