Today in Tribe History: October 30, 2005
Bob Toth | On 30, Oct 2020
Al Lopez, skipper of the 1954 American League pennant winning Cleveland Indians team, passes away at 97 in his hometown of Tampa, Florida.
Lopez concluded his 19-year big league playing career in Cleveland in 1947 as the Major League leader in career games caught, a title he would hold until 1987. He was twice an All-Star, once with the Brooklyn Dodgers and nine years later with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Following some thought that he might be considered to manage in Cleveland with the Indians, he instead found himself managing the Indians of Indianapolis in the American Association for the next three seasons.
He replaced Lou Boudreau as Cleveland’s manager in 1951 and led the team to six consecutive winning seasons. Under his watch, the Indians had five second place finishes in the American League and won 111 games in 1954 before being swept in the World Series by the New York Giants. His .617 winning percentage remains the top by any Cleveland manager to lead the club for more than a few games.
Lopez headed to Chicago after his tenure in Cleveland and was the club’s manager from 1957 to 1965, leading the White Sox to the World Series in 1959. He also filled in briefly as skipper of the club in 1968 and 1969, finishing his managerial career with a .584 winning percentage over 17 years, one of the top marks all-time.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1977.