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LAJOIE, NAPOLEON "NAP"

LAJOIE, NAPOLEON "NAP"

LAJOIE, NAPOLEON "NAP" (5 Sept. 1875-7 Feb. 1959), BASEBALL player with Cleveland (1902-14), was born in Woonsocket, R.I., to John and Celina Guerton Lajoie. He worked in cotton mills and completed his education to the 9th grade. Playing semipro baseball in 1895, Lajoie signed with the Fall River team in the New England League. After 80 games, his contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies. When the AL was founded in 1901, Lajoie signed with the Athletics, that year batting .422, the highest average in AL history. In 1902, he joined the Cleveland Blues, and in 1905 was named the playing manager of the team soon called the "Naps" in his honor. He led the team in 1908 to a 2nd-place finish but resigned as manager the next year with the team in 6th place. He played for Cleveland until 1914, when he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1917 Lajoie managed Toronto, and in 1918, Indianapolis.

Lajoie was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1937. With a lifetime batting average of .339, he had 3,251 hits in his 21-year major-league career. Lajoie led the AL in hitting 3 of its first 4 years. On the last day of the 1910 batting season, he had 7 bunt singles and 1 triple in 8 times at bat in a doubleheader against St. Louis. A graceful second baseman, he led the league in fielding 6 times. He served briefly as commissioner of the Ohio & Pennsylvania League before moving to Florida in 1925. Lajoie married Myrtle Everturf in 1907. They had no children. Lajoie is buried in Cedar Hills Cemetery, Daytona Beach, Florida.