CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Move over, Jim Thome, there’s a new man in town.
On Saturday, the Indians unveiled the fifth statue at Progressive Field, that of seven-time All-Star Lou Boudreau. The monument now resides alongside former Boudreau teammates Bob Feller and Larry Doby outside the entrance to the Right Field District.
Boudreau’s statue takes the place of Thome’s, whose monument was moved inside the park.
More than 70 members of the Boudreau family were in attendance including his son-in-law Denny McLain, who will most likely be the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season, as well as his son Tim and family, who flew 22 hours from Australia for the event. Also speaking on the day was Lou Boudreau Jr., with both he and McLain referring to the Indians great as “the best man I’ve ever met.”
“Lou is the only man I ever met in my life who cared about everyone and everything,” McLain, the husband of Boudreau’s daughter Sharyn said. “He did as much as he could to make the game and life better for everyone.”
Boudreau spent 13 of his 15 major league seasons with the Indians, winning the American League MVP and leading the team to a World Series Championship in 1948.
He finished his career as a .295 hitter with 1779 hits, but was also a wizard defensively. According to Fangraphs, Boudreau has the 18th-highest defensive WAR among all-time shortstops and 25th among all positions.
Boudreau is on record as making two tremendous plays to stop Joe DiMaggio from extending his legendary 56-game hitting streak to 57, when it ended on July 17, 1941. That was also the day Boudreau turned 24.
Later on in Boudreau’s 24th year on Earth, he became player-manager of the Indians after sending a letter to Owner Alva Bradley asking for the job. He went 728-649-12 over nine seasons in that role, including the Championship.
During the ceremony, emcee Tom Hamilton looked towards soon-to-be 24-year old Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and jokingly asked if he would be applying for the job in the off-season, to which Lindor shook his head “no.”
“This statue – besides bringing back some fond memories – will keep him forever young,” said his son, Lou Boudreau Jr. “It’s just stunning what the Cleveland Indians have done for the Boudreau Family. We certainly appreciate it.”