Daily Minyan – July 17, 2009
On this date in 1917, Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau was born in Harvey, Ill. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1970.
Boudreau, who was the son of a French-American father who played semipro baseball and worked as a machinist and a Jewish mother. His parents divorced when he was young and he did not get along with his stepfather after his mother remarried. Boudreau was raised by his father and brought up as a Christian.
He graduated from Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, excelling in sports at both schools.
Thornton High Basketball Team Photo
He was captain of the basketball and baseball teams at the University of Illinois when Cleveland Indians general manager Cy Slapnicka paid him an undisclosed sum in return for agreeing to play baseball for the Indians following graduation. Boudreau’s father complained to the Big Ten Conference, and league officials ruled him ineligible for collegiate sports. During his junior and senior years at Illinois, he played pro basketball with the Hammond All-Americans of the National Basketball League.
Boudreau made his Major League debut on September 9, 1938 for the Cleveland Indians, at the age of 21, playing first base. In 1939, manager Ossie Vitt informed Boudreau, who normally played third base, that he would have to move to shortstop as Ken Keltner already had the regular third base job.
In 1940, his first full year as a starter, he batted .295 with 46 doubles and 101 RBI. He was also selected to play in his first All Star Game.
Boudreau helped make history in 1941 as a key figure in stopping the 56-game hitting streak by Joe DiMaggio. After Ken Keltner made two fine stops at third base earlier in the game, Boudreau snagged a bad hop grounder at short barehanded and started a double play to retire Dimaggio. He finished the season with a .257 batting average and a league leading 45 doubles.
After the season, owner Alva Bradley promoted manager Roger Peckinpaugh to general manager and appointed Boudreau as the player manager, becoming, at age 24, the youngest person to have taken on the job of manager at the beginning of an MLB season. Boudreau managed the Indians throughout World War II.
One of the best defenders of his time, he led American League (AL) shortstops in fielding percentage for eight seasons. Boudreau was also a productive hitter and had a lifetime average of .295. He led the AL in hitting in 1944 with a .327 average and led the league in doubles three times. Boudreau was an eight-time All Star selection, starting three times. He won the 1944 AL batting title (.327), and led the league in doubles in 1941, 1944, and 1947. Boudreau still holds the record for hitting the most consecutive doubles in a game (four), set on July 14, 1946.
The 1948 season was the pinnacle of Boudreau’s career. That year, he managed Cleveland to the AL title and World Series championship while hitting for a .355 average with 18 home runs and 106 runs batted in. In 1948, Boudreau also led the league’s shortstops in fielding percentage and was selected as the AL Most Valuable Player. After 13 seasons with Cleveland and two more with the Boston Red Sox,
Boudreau stopped playing baseball in 1952 to become a full-time manager. He spent six seasons managing the Red Sox and the Kansas City Athletics
before retiring to join the broadcast team of the Chicago Cubs. Boudreau briefly came out of retirement to manage the Cubs for the 1960 season, after which he returned to broadcasting Cubs games, where he remained until 1988.
As a Cubs Announcer (above and below)
Lastly and certainly not least, here is a picture of Lou and his wife Della all dressed up:
Brad Ausmus, C – Los Angeles Dodgers
Brad didn’t play in the Dodgers loss to the Astros on Thursday.
Ryan Braun, OF, 3B – Milwaukee Brewers
Coming off being in the starting lineup for the NL All Stars as the cleanup hitter, Ryan snapped an 0-for-16 skid, by going 1-for-4, scoring a run, stealing his 8th base and throwing out the plodding Ramon Hernandez at home in the Brewers win over the Reds. His average rose to .310.
Brauny scoring his run and….
the end result of his outfield assist, which prevented a run!
Notice the lack of hustle from Ramon! One big reason why he is no longer an Oriole.
Craig Breslow, P – Oakland A’s
Craig didn’t pitch in the A’s loss to the Angels on Thursday.
Scott Feldman, P – Texas Rangers
The Rangers had the day off on Thursday.
John Grabow, P, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates had the day off on Thursday.
Gabe Kapler, OF – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays had the day off on Thursday.
Ian Kinsler, 2B – Texas Rangers
The Rangers had the day off on Thursday.
Jason Marquis, P – Colorado Rockies
Jason didn’t pitch in the Rockies win over the Padres on Thursday.
Aaron Poreda, P – Chicago White Sox
The Chisox had the day off on Thursday.
Scott Schoeneweis, P – Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs had the day off on Thursday.
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, 3B – Boston Red Sox
The Sawx had the day off on Thursday.
Macher (Big Shot) of the Day – Brauny