Just as pitchers and catchers reported to their respective spring coaching locations in both the Cactus League of Arizona or the Grapefruit League of Florida, the baseball world obtained information that little question dampened the standard enthusiasm of the start of a brand new season. Tito Francona, a 15 12 months Major League veteran and the father of present Cleveland Indians supervisor Terry, handed away on February 13 at age 84.
Although his son has turn into extra well-known due to a number of World Series Championships and pennants, Tito really loved a greater profession on the sphere. In addition to being a stable left handed hitter and heart fielder or first baseman, Tito additionally had fairly a couple of distinctions relating to his tenure within the Big Leagues.
For one, he was traded on two separate events for Larry Doby, the primary black participant to look within the American League. The Baltimore Orioles despatched Francona to the White Sox in 1957, and two years later the Detroit Tigers shipped him to the Cleveland Indians in trade for Doby as soon as once more.
Also, Francona was the final novice free agent ever signed by the St. Louis Browns, which acquired him in 1953. The following season that group turned the Baltimore Orioles.
Another attention-grabbing element is that his actual title is John Patsy Francona, leaving him as the one participant within the historical past of the sport ever saddled with that uncommon center title. Fortunately, he and his wife selected to not assign that title to their son Terry, who did observe in his father’s footwear by changing into a Big Leaguer.
As a part of the squad who had for simply the 1969 season been the Seattle Pilots, Francona was the primary participant ever launched by the Milwaukee Brewers. His final at bat got here throughout that 1970 season in opposition to Catfish Hunter of the Oakland Athletics, who struck him out in 5 pitches.
Over a decade previous to that in 1959 for the Indians, Francona boasted the very best batting common in all of baseball. His .363 c!lip was ten factors greater than that of Harvey Kuenn, who was credited with the batting title as a result of Francona fell 24 plate appearances in need of qualifying.
Even although he performed for 9 totally different groups over his fifteen 12 months profession, Francona by no means as soon as reached the postseason. Tito did, nevertheless, get to expertise the World Series 47 years after he retired, when he delivered the ceremonial first pitch within the 2017 Fall Classic between his son’s Cleveland Indians membership and the Chicago Cubs.
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