All-Time Indians: Al Lopez

 

Name: Alfonso Ramon Lopez       Position: Manager/Catcher    
Tribe Time: 1951-1956/1947         Number: 12        
Accolades: Hall of Fame (1977)       DOB: 08/20/1908      
As Manager W L W% PS W PS L PS W%                        
Best Season (1954) 111 43 0.721 0 4 0.000                        
Career 570 354 0.617 0 4 0.000                        
As Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Career 61 126 9 33 1 0 0 14 34 9 13 1 1 .309 .270 .262 .579 .008

Al Lopez was a Major League catcher during his playing career which spanned three decades, playing in almost 2,000 games and making it to two All-Star games during that period. He spent that duration with the Brooklyn Robins, Boston Bees and finally with the Pittsburgh Pirates before ending his career by playing 61 games in Cleveland. Of course, he did nothing during his lengthy playing career to garner any Hall of Fame interest.

After ending his career in Cleveland, Lopez was brought back as manager in 1951, taking over for player manager Lou Boudreau (the most successful manager in Cleveland history). Lopez picked up just where Boudreau left off, setting a new record for highest career winning percentage in club history. After three 90 win seasons, Lopez pulled out the greatest regular season in baseball history, winning 111 games (.721 winning percent) in 1954. What followed was what is considered one of the greatest let downs in sports history as the greatest team in MLB history was swept in the World Series by Willie Mays and the New York Giants.

The next two years Lopez still pushed his team to great finishes, but they never returned to the World Series and Lopez left the team in 1957 as part of the exodus from Cleveland. He then spent the rest of his time in baseball managing the Chicago White Sox. In his managerial career, Al Lopez won 1,410 total games with his two teams, placing him 25th in Major League history. In his Indians career, he ranks fourth all time in wins behind the Indians two great, World Series winning player managers, Boudreau and Tris Speaker, and Mike Hargrove.

Lopez was inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1977 as a manager by the Veteran's Committee and then into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006. Al Lopez died in 2005 at the age of 97.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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