One of the top half-dozen or so shortstops this century, Lou Boudreau combined shortstop prowess, solid hitting and managerial acumen to attain Hall of Fame recognition. He took over the helm of the Indians in 1942 at the age of 24, the youngest man to coach a full season.
He is often called a bold innovator and creative strategist, in large part because he is credited with devising the Ted Williams shift in 1946, bunching his infielders onto the right side of the second base bag and daring Williams to pull the ball through the barricade. Truth be told, Boudreau's former manager Roger Peckinpaugh had first used the shift in 1941. Boudreau had a losing record as a manager, and the evidence doesn't seem to support the reputation he developed.
He was a capable, steady fielder, leading the AL in fielding average a record-tying 8 times, in putouts three times and in assists once. His range was mediocre and his arm was so-so, but he used his intelligence and his knowledge of the hitters to put himself in the middle of the action.
In the Indians' magical 1948, when they won the pennant with 97 games, Boudreau seemed to be at the center of every rally. He hit .355, drove in 106 RBI, and capped the season with a 4-for-4 day in the pennant playoff against the Red Sox to lead the Tribe to the 1948 World Championship.
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