Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Final Card: Al Lopez

Here is the final card (#527) for White Sox manager Al Lopez. It looks like this photo was taken during the same session as his 1965 card. He also had a card in the 1953 set as the Indians’ manager, and in the 1961 to 1965 sets as the White Sox' manager.

Lopez was a catcher and played in the minors from 1925 to 1929. He had a 3-game cup of coffee with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1928, before returning to the minors the following season.

Al was the Dodgers' catcher from 1930-35, and made the All-Star team in 1934. He played for the Boston Braves from 1936-40, and the Pirates from 1940-46, although his last 2 seasons with Pittsburgh were as a backup. Al made his 2nd and last All-Star team in 1941.

He played his last big-league season (1947) with the Indians. Retiring after the '47 season, his 1,918 career games caught was a record that stood until Bob Boone broke it 40 years later.

Lopez was a minor-league manager from 1948-50, also serving as his team's backup catcher in 1948.

He managed the Indians from 1951-56, winning the AL pennant in 1954.

Lopez was also the White Sox manager from 1957 to 1965, and won the AL pennant in 1959. His 2 pennants (’54, ’59) were the only times the Yankees DIDN’T win the AL pennant from 1949-64.

After the '65 season he was kicked upstairs to the front office, but returned as field general after Eddie Stanky's firing during the 1968 season.

Soon after that he became ill, forcing him to miss much of the remainder of the '68 season. He returned as manager at the end of the season, managing a total of 47 games in his 2 stints that year. He began the 1969 season as the team's manager, but failing health forced him to retire after 17 games.

Al was inducted into HOF as a manager in 1977.

He passed away in October 2005 at age 97, five days after the White Sox won the World Series (their first championship in 88 years). Lopez was the last living MLB player from the 1920s.

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