His death came four days after the White Sox won the World Series , their first world championship in 88 years and their first AL pennant since Lopez had led them to the World Series in Lopez was the last living person who had played major league baseball during the s, and was the longest-lived member of the Baseball Hall of Fame until Bobby Doerr passed him in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
See also: History of Ybor City. Biography portal Baseball portal. Retrieved on Tampa Bay Times. November 1, Accessed August 22, The New York Times. Octobrt 31, Retrieved 1 July Tampa Tribune. The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers. Retrieved 29 December Palm Beach Post. September 22, Retrieved November 8, Petersburg Times. Baseball Reference.
- Its a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice (Compass).
- Lopez, Alfonso Ramon (“Al”; “El Señor”).
- Al Lopez The Life of Baseball's El Senor;
Sports Reference. Retrieved October 24, Reading Eagle. Baseball Hall of Fame.
Retrieved November 1, Ellensburg Daily Record. November 5, Ocala Star-Banner. May 4, Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 22, Retrieved 21 August Jesuit High School. May 16, Cleveland Indians managers. Chicago White Sox managers. Baseball Hall of Fame Class of Ernie Banks Harold Kaese Red Smith.source site
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Members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Alexander Bender Blyleven M. Brown R. Foster Galvin B.
Johnson W. Smith L. Williams Willis Wynn Young. Alomar Biggio Carew E. Robinson Sandberg Schoendienst. Baker Boggs Brett J. Collins Dandridge J. Robinson Santo Schmidt Traynor J. Wilson D. Rizzuto Sewell O. Lopez was the son of Spanish immigrants.
His father, Modesto, was attracted to employment offers in the cigar trade in Cuba. It was here that their seventh of nine children, Alfonso, was born on August 20, At the time, Ybor City was hardly the popular nightclub district that it is today. I went to work one day and had to step around a couple of guys who had been murdered in the streets.
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In the days before the ubiquity of the automobile, Lopez remembered no traffic in the unpaved streets of Ybor City. The beach was a source of leisure for Lopez and his friends for crabbing, fishing, and swimming. It was an older brother who introduced him to a second childhood pastime, baseball. Throughout his youth, Lopez played the game with friends on weekends at local sandlots. Dominoes and gin rummy were two additional lifelong hobbies.
A member of the Catholic faith, Lopez attended the Jesuit High School of Tampa, but dropped out after his freshman year to support his family. Lopez accepted a job working for La Joven Francesca Bakery. In , still five years short of the age of majority, he was hired by the Washington Senators to catch batting practice in spring training.
He spent most of the season playing for Macon, where he earned a spot on the South Atlantic Association All-Star team. Lopez made his debut at Ebbets Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a doubleheader on September 27, The first pitcher Lopez faced in the majors was legendary spitball artist Burleigh Grimes. Although the pull-hitting rookie made contact with Grimes, none of the balls he hit evaded the glove work of third baseman Pie Traynor or shortstop Glen Wright.
The Robins beat the Pirates , an extra inning victory for Jesse Petty. After another year of seasoning in the minors, Lopez had returned to Brooklyn in He established an offensive personal best for himself as a rookie, batting. Compared to other catchers around the league, Lopez was considered small, standing 5-feet11 and weighing a mere pounds. After the season, this type of play was reclassified as a ground rule double.
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After five consecutive sixth-place finishes, the Robins leapt to challenge the St. Although the Robins fell to fourth place by September, they won 86 games and set a franchise attendance record by drawing over a million for the first time. As a young player, Lopez carried a reputation of an umpire baiter. On one instance, he found himself ejected from a game at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia.
Infuriated, the umpire ordered him to leave the field. Lopez ignored him, continuing his mock burlesque act by removing one shinguard, then another, and tossing them gingerly beside him. At that point, he collected his belongings and moved towards center field slower than a Studebaker with a flat tire. In , Lopez tested the patience of another authority figure, Dodgers general manager Robert Quinn. When training camp opened, Lopez was nowhere to be found — he was holding out for a better contract. On the heels of batting. Five years later, on October 7, , the pair was wed. They welcomed a son, Al Jr.
Over the years, the Lopez family would expand to include three grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. The season also introduced Lopez to new Brooklyn manager Casey Stengel. Despite his later successes with the Yankees, Stengel led the Dodgers to pedestrian records of in and in Rumors began to circulate that several star players would soon be traded.
In , the Braves won 38 and lost , established themselves as the worst team in baseball. Lopez played for the Pirates through the season when he was traded to Cleveland for outfielder Gene Woodling on December 7. He was well-respected enough in the latter stages of his career that even superstars from opposing teams asked him for advice.
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In March , when legendary Yankee Lou Gehrig suddenly stopped hitting with alacrity, he turned to Lopez for advice on his swing. Nineteen seasons in the major leagues yielded 1, hits, doubles, 43 triples, 51 home runs, runs batted in, and a lifetime average of. Catching 1, games, a major league record until , he produced a sterling. In , he caught games with the Pirates without as much as a passed ball.
Lopez knew his career as a catcher would not last forever; as a member of the Bees, he invested in Texas land options prior to a real estate boom. Lopez even caught in 42 games for the Indians. They finished ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers by 11 games to garner the American Association pennant. Was this a sign of big-league accomplishments for Lopez? After two more years at Indianapolis, Lopez was hired on November 10, to manage the Cleveland Indians. One of the keys to his success in Cleveland was his rapport with chief operating officer Hank Greenberg.
The Indians were consistent if not spectacular under Lopez, winning 93 games in , 93 in , and 92 in Without the financial wealth or the farm system resources of the Yankees, the Indians left their fans frustrated. Fate would be kinder to the Cleveland Indians in Although the Yankees won games, their highest total under Stengel, they were relegated to listening to the World Series on the radio.
The Indians, meanwhile, played evenly against the Yankees and the White Sox while posting a torrid record against the other five clubs. Posting an overall record of , the Tribe vaulted to the American League pennant. I had great respect for the way he played the game and the way he demanded that others play the game. The Indians were leaders on the mound.
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Bob Lemon and Early Wynn earned league titles with 23 wins apiece, while the club converted 19 victories from Mike Garcia , 15 from Art Houtteman , and 13 from Bob Feller. The Indians were leaders at the plate as well.
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