Tristram E. “Tris” Speaker
Born: April 4, 1888 - Hubbard, TX
Died: December 8, 1958 - Lake Whitney, TX
Career BA: .345
Managerial Record: 617–520
Boston Americans/Red Sox AL (April 4, 1888 - December 8, 1958)
Cleveland Indians AL (1916–1918; player-manager: 1919–1926)
Washington Senators AL (1927)
Philadelphia Athletics AL (1928)
A standout both offensively and defensively, “The Grey Eagle” can certainly be included in any discussion as one of the all-time greats. With a lifetime batting average of .345 along with over 3,500 hits, Tris Speaker either sits near the top or leads the league in a number of categories, nearly 100 years later. With most career doubles, fifth in career hits, most career outfield assists, and 1,529 career runs batted in, Speaker is considered one of the five or six greatest outfielders along with the likes of Ruth, Cobb, Williams, Mays, Musial, Clemente or whomever else you would like to include. In 1912, his greatest year, Speaker wowed Boston by amassing 53 doubles, 222 hits, a league-leading 10 home runs, and 52 steals along with a .383 average, earning the Chalmers Award for Most Valuable Player.
A darling of the Boston fans, Speaker became known as “Spoke.” He was given the nickname by teammate Bill Carrigan who would shout out “Speaker spoke” whenever Tris got a hit. His 1912 and 1915 Boston teams were World Champions. Although successful on the field, there were tensions in the clubhouse and with management. After a salary dispute, Speaker was traded to the Indians where he continued to excel, beating Cobb for the batting title in 1916. Beloved by Cleveland fans, he went on to bat over .350 for seven seasons. He had a very successful career as a manager for the Indians from 1919 to 1926, leading them to a World Series Championship in 1920 with his inspirational play in centerfield.
After his Major League career, “The Grey Eagle” was part-owner of the Kansas City Blues before returning to the Indians as a scout and a broadcaster. In 1947 Speaker again donned the Indians uniform as a coach working with young players. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937. The list of his accomplishments goes on and on. However one thing is certain. Tris Speaker definitely makes the cut to be included in our dream Cracker Jack outfield.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html