Former Cleveland Indians’ great Al Rosen passes away

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Earlier today the Cleveland Indians announced that one of their all-time greatest players in team history, Al Rosen, has passed away.  Al Rosen died Friday at the age of 91.  He was four-time All-Star and is probably best remembered as the last Cleveland Indians player to win an MVP award doing so in 1953. The man known as “Flip” and the “Hebrew Hammer” batted .336 with 43 HR and 145 RBI during his unanimous MVP season, becoming the first to win unanimously since Hank Greenberg (the original “Hebrew Hammer”). To this day many baseball historians call Al Rosen’s 1953 season the greatest ever by a third baseman, including Bill James in his book The Bill James’ New Historical Baseball Abstract.

Rosen played all ten of his major league seasons with the Cleveland Indians.  He originally signed with the team as an amateur free agent in 1942; however, he didn’t make his major league debut until 1947 after enlisting in the US Navy in 1942, where he served in the Pacific including the battle for Okinawa.  He spent most of the 1947-1949 seasons in the minors though did play in September of 1948 and received a World Series ring with the Indians. From 1950 to 1954 Rosen drove in at least runs 100 runs and established himself as one of the best sluggers in the American League. However, back injuries forced him to retire after the 1956 season at only 32 years of age.

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After retiring from baseball Al Rosen became a stockbroker for 20+ years before eventually finding his way back to baseball.  He first became team President and CEO of the New York Yankees before moving on the Houston Astros and finally the San Francisco Giants (which ironically was the team that beat his Indians in the 1954 season).  Rosen was the president and general manager of the Giants from 1985-1992 and helped the Giants go from the cellar to winning the 1989 National League Pennant.  To date Al Rosen is the only person in baseball history to win an MVP award as a player and Executive of the Year, which he won with the Giants in 1987.

Current team President Mark Shapiro and team owner Larry Dolan had nothing but praise and admiration for the late Al Rosen:

"“He was an inspiration to us all and had a special presence, strength and intellect,” Indians team president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “His fierce competitive nature and toughness was legendary.”“We lost a cherished member of the Indians family last night,” said Larry Dolan, father of Indians owner Paul Dolan. “Watching Al play was a true joy and something Indians fans of our generation still cherish.”“Al embodied the true meaning of success, as a player and person,” Indians owner Paul Dolan said."

All of us here at Wahoo’s on First express our deepest sympathies to the Rosen family. The world has lost a great baseball player and an even better man.  There has been no word yet on if the Cleveland Indians will do anything this year to honor Rosen. Hopefully there is at least a patch of some kind with his former #7 on it that the team will wear.

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