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Obituaries in the News

October 31, 2005

Al Lopez

MIAMI (AP) _ Al Lopez, a Hall of Fame catcher and manager who led the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox to American League pennants in the 1950s, died Sunday. He was 97.

Lopez had been hospitalized in Tampa since Friday, when he suffered a heart attack at his son’s home, Al Lopez Jr. said.

Lopez was the oldest living Hall of Fame member, said Jeff Idelson, spokesman for the Hall.

Lopez hit .261 with 51 homers and 652 RBIs during a 19-year career in which he was one of baseball’s most durable catchers and set the record for most games caught in the major leagues at 1,918. The record was later broken by Bob Boone, then Carlton Fisk.

Lopez was best known for being the only AL manager to lead teams that finished ahead of the New York Yankees between 1949-64. He helped the Indians to the 1954 pennant and, until last week, was the last manager to lead the White Sox to the World Series _ their 1959 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The two-time All-Star’s first full season in the majors was 1930, and he played 18 seasons for Brooklyn, Boston, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He managed the Indians from 1951-56 and the White Sox from 1957-65 and 1968-69.

The Indians won a then-AL record 111 games in 1954, and his 1959 ``Go-Go″ White Sox won Chicago’s first AL pennant since 1919. His teams finished second to the Yankees every other season that decade.

Lopez’s second stint as manager of the White Sox ended May 2, 1969, when he resigned for health reasons with a career record of 1,422-1,026.

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