Today in Tribe History: January 25, 1949
Bob Toth | On 25, Jan 2021
After leading the Cleveland Indians to their first World Championship in 28 years, shortstop-manager Lou Boudreau is given a two-year contract by the club.
“Old Shufflefoot”, entering his 12th Major League season, was coming off of an MVP season in 1948 when he posted career highs in batting average (.355), runs scored (116), hits (199), walks (98), home runs (18), and RBI (106). He did that all while in his seventh season as a player-manager, guiding the team to a 97-58 record and a win in six games over the Boston Braves to give the Indians their first World Series championship since 1920.
Bill Veeck was already engaged in conversations with two other stars of the club, rookie Gene Bearden, who had been named the day before as “Indian of the Year”, and Bob Feller, who was expected to see his salary figure reduced after a down year on the mound. Boudreau was under contract for one more season, but that contract was burned and replaced with his two-year deal that guaranteed his job through the 1950 campaign.
It was believed at the time that Boudreau’s contract would pay him $135,000 over the two seasons, putting him in a range of pay with Feller, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio, according to the January 26, 1949, edition of The Plain Dealer.
It was to be the final season of stellar numbers in Boudreau’s career, as he would play in 134 games and bat .284 in the coming season. He played in just 81 games while batting .269 in 1950 before heading to Boston with the Red Sox for the final two seasons of his MLB career.