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A Cleveland Legend Dies

Manager Lou Boudreau and Larry Doby, first black player in the American League, stand in the dugout at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ill., on July 5, 1947
AP
Lou Boudreau, the Hall of Famer who led the Cleveland Indians to their last world championship, died Friday. He was 84.

Boudreau, the shortstop and manager of the 1948 World Series championship team, was brought into St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Olympia Fields on Friday afternoon in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead there, said hospital spokeswoman Julie Miller.

Boudreau also was hospitalized last month for circulatory problems, forcing him to miss the Indians' 100-year anniversary celebration honoring their Top 100 players.

Earlier this year he was selected an honorary captain by the Indians for this season but did not attend a ceremony.

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller called Boudreau "the greatest shortstop I ever saw."

"He was afraid of nobody," Feller said from his home in Ohio. "He was a great manager, teammate and friend. Just a great man. There is not a more gracious man than Lou Boudreau. There have not been many better all-around players than he was."

Feller said Boudreau won his player's respect by having confidence in them.

"I remember in 1948, Lou said, 'We're going to sink or swin with Feller.' I was having a rough season and after he said that I won 10 of my last 12 games. He instilled a confidence in his players they never forgot."

Boudreau, a slick fielding shortstop for 13 seasons, was selected the AL MVP in '48. That season, the Indians won a one-game playoff over the Boston Red Sox to advance to the Series and then beat the Boston Braves 4-2.

Boudreau was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970, the same year the native of Harvey, Ill., had his No. 5 jersey retired by the Indians. He was recently selected one of the club's Top 100 greatest players.

He managed the Indians from 1942-50 and also managed Boston (1952-54), Kansas City (1955-57) and the Cubs in 1960.

Boudreau also was a popular radio broadcaster for the Cubs for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1988.

A seven-time All-Star, Boudreau led the AL with a .327 average in 1944 and he led the league in doubles three times.

During his MVP season, Boudreau batted .355 with 18 homers and 106 RBIs. He struck out just nine times in 560 at-bats.

In the one-game playoff that year, Boudreau went 4-for-4 with two homers in Cleveland's 8-3 win over the Red Sox.

Boudreau was a captain of the baseball and basketball teams at Illinois before beginning his pro career in 1938 as minor league third baseman.

He made his big league debut in 1940 with the Indians, and in his first full season he was named to the AL All-Star team and batted .295 with 101 RBIs.

After the Indians finished second in 1940 under Oscar Vitt and fourth in 1941 under Roger Peckinpaugh, the 24-year-old Boudreau wrote a letter to owner Alva Bradley and applied for the manager's job.

Boudreau was hired on Nov. 25, 1941, and at 24 became the youngest manager in baseball history. He was immediately dubbed the "Boy Manager" by the press.

Boudreau manage the Indians through 1950 despite owner Bill Veeck's attempts to fire him earlier. Boudreau was fired on Nov. 10, 1950, and replaced by Al Lopez.

Pitcher Bob Lemon credited Boudreau with transforming him from a light-hitting third baseman to Hall of Fame pitcher.

By ANDREW BUCHANAN
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