Al Lopez had a respectable nineteen-year career as a player, twice appearing in the All Star game and once finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting, but it was his skills as a manager which secured his place in the Hall. In 1951 he took the reigns of the Cleveland Indians from Lou Boudreau and immediately elevated the team from fourth to second place. In the six years he skippered the Indians, they never finished lower than second, winning the American League pennant in 1954. In 1957 he took over the Chicago White Sox and would once again win the pennant in 1959. It was the first pennant for the Sox since the scandalous 1919 season, but they fell to the Dodgers in the World Series, four games to two. He would manage the South Siders for eight more seasons, returning in 1968 after first leaving at the end of the 1965 campaign, but he would never equal his earlier success. Despite never winning a World Series, Lopez never had a losing season over seventeen years of managing.
Lopez’s parents were Spanish immigrants who originally moved to Cuba so that his father could find work in the cigar trade. They moved to the United States in 1906, settling in the Tampa area where Al would live his entire life.
March 29, 2012