Lou Boudreau literally did everything there was to do in Major League Baseball.
Boudreau played, managed and broadcasted the game at various stages in his career — sometimes taking on two of those tasks at the same time. He was one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, leading the AL in fielding percentage for ten consecutive seasons, after becoming the Tribe’s regular shortstop in the 1940 season.
The Indians shocked the baseball world in 1942 when they hired their 24-year-old shortstop as the team’s player-manager, a role he would fulfill through 1950. During his 13 seasons with the Indians, Boudreau hit .295/.380/.415 in 1,646 games played. He collected 1,779 hits and drove home 789 RBIs.
His best season, perhaps, came in 1948 when Boudreau hit .355 with 106 RBIs, a career-best 18 home runs and struck out just nine times in 560 at-bats. He led the Tribe to a 97-58 record, leading Hall of Fame coach Bill McKechnie to say, “That year, Lou Boudreau was the greatest shortstop and leader I have ever seen.”
He had terrific instincts and was a great competitor. As a player-manager, he became so good that he went as far as calling pitches from shortstop. He was always thinking, always in the game. –Bob Feller
The Indians and Red Sox finished the season tied and played a one-game playoff to decide which team moved on to the postseason. Boudreau took his team into Fenway Park, homered twice while going 4-for-4 in an Indians’ victory. Cleveland went on to beat the Braves in the World Series and Boudreau earned the AL MVP Award. Tribe legend Bob Feller had this to say about the shortstop:
“He had terrific instincts and was a great competitor. As a player-manager, he became so good that he went as far as calling pitches from shortstop. He was always thinking, always in the game.”
Boudreau was also a great basketball player, leading the University of Illinois to the Big Ten title in 1937 and earning All-American honors the following season.
Boudreau was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970.
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