Sunday, May 7, 2023

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 36

I keep saying I need to get more active here and I never do. I just received my 65th signed 1961 Fleer card and I am working with a friend on a deal to add three more to that total.  At a minimum, I need to be posting faster than I am acquiring them. Surely, I can manage that? The answer is yes because I expect this project will grind to a virtual halt as I am getting down to the very rare or very expensive cards yet to go. Okay, next up in the signed 1961 Fleer project is Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau.

Boudreau was certainly one of the better players in the 1940s.  But what made him special is that for 8 of those years he was also the manager of the Cleveland Indians.  He became a player manager in 1942 at the tender age of 24 and continued through the 1950 season, when he was released by the Indians and signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox. He is listed as a player-manager for the Bosox in 1952, but only appeared in 4 mid season games as a pinch hitter, so it is something of a questionable designation,

That said, I was curious how he stacked up against other player-managers.  Through the course of MLB history (note: Negro League baseball wasn't accounted for in the list, although there were undoubtedly numerous examples) there have been 222 player managers. Most, (170)   were in the deadball era, with another 32 in the time between the world wars.  There were only 20 player managers in the post war era and most of them only appeared as such in a single season.  Only Phil Cavarretta and Pete Rose acted as player managers for more than two seasons in the post-war era. So, it is probably fair to say that Lou was the last of a dying breed

His roles as a star player and team manager peaked in 1948 when he was the runaway winner of the AL MVP and led his Indians team to the 1948 World Series where they prevailed in 6 games over the Boston Braves.

Other fun facts about Lou Boudreau:

  • He isn't so much credited with inventing the infield shift as he was of bringing it to more popular attention.  He did this on July 14, 1946 against Ted Williams during the second game of a doubleheader.  Williams laughed when Cleveland deployed the shift, but then promptly grounded out to none other than Lou Boudreau.
  • Despite not ever being confused as a speed demon (one of his nicknames was "Old Shufflefoot," he was an excellent fielding shortstop.
  • In 1990, the Cleveland Indians established The Lou Boudreau Award, which is given every year to the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.
  • Boudreau is only one of three Illinois Fighting Illini athletes to have their number retired; the other two athletes being Illinois Fighting Illini football players Red Grange and Dick Butkus.
  • He was Denny McClain's father-in-law.

What I am listening to:  El Dorado by Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway


  1. This got me curious enough to see how much time he missed in World War II and then I found out he never served in the war because of arthritic ankles. Also I didn't know his connection to Denny McLain.

  2. Kinda surprised Williams didn't beat that shift. Always thought it'd be fun to watch teams use the shift against guys like Ichiro, Gwynn, and Williams.