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SPEAKER, TRISTRAM

SPEAKER, TRISTRAM "TRIS" (4 Apr. 1888-8 Dec. 1958), "The Gray Eagle," centerfielder for the CLEVELAND INDIANS (1916-26), was born in Hubbard City, Tex., to Archie and Nancy Peer Speaker. By 1909 he was centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox, and the AL's Most Valuable Player when Boston won the 1912 World Championship. After a salary dispute, Speaker's contract was traded to Cleveland in 1916 for $50,000. In his first year with Cleveland, Speaker hit .386 to win the AL batting championship. His salary of $40,000 was the highest in baseball. In 1919 Speaker became manager; the team finished 2d that year. In 1920 Speaker hit .388 and set a record of 11 consecutive hits as Cleveland won the league and world championships. Unjustly accused of fixing a game with Ty Cobb, Speaker resigned from the Indians in 1926. He was cleared of the charge and played his last 2 years with Washington and Philadelphia.

Speaker holds the AL outfield record for the most lifetime putouts of 6,706 and 449 assists (also a major-league record). Speaker had a lifetime batting average of .345, and his 3,515 hits in 22 seasons rank him in the top 10 hitters of all time. He was selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. Speaker helped found the SOCIETY FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN and Camp Cheerful. During the 1930s, he was in the wholesale liquor business and for a time chairman of the Cleveland Boxing Commission. From 1947 to his death, Speaker was an advisor, coach, and scout for the Indians. He married Mary Frances Cudahy in 1925. Speaker is buried in Hubbard, Texas.