Former Indians team president and general manager Hank Peters passed away Sunday morning at the age of 90, due to complications caused by a recent stroke.
Peters worked for the Indians from 1966 to 1971 as vice president of player personnel, but it was his second stint with the team that had the largest impact. Shortly after Dick Jacobs bought the Indians, he hired Peters as team president. Peters eventually hired John Hart as GM and Mike Hargrove as manager. Peters convinced Jacobs that more money needed to be put into the team, looking not just at the MLB-level payroll, but at spending on the farm system and scouting. Those spending increases and the men Peters hired combined to bring in much of the talent on the 1995 American League pennant-winning Indians team. Because the payoff didn't come until after Peters left the team early in 1992, he never really received all of the credit he was due, but he did as much as anyone to set the table for the team's best stretch of baseball in the last sixty years.
Peters was born in St. Louis on September 16, 1924, and his career in baseball began with the St, Louis Browns in 1946, when he went to work in their farm department. He chose not to go with the team to Baltimore in 1954, and instead took a job with the Kansas City A's. After his first stint with the Indians, he served as the president of the minor leagues, until being hired as GM of the Baltimore Orioles at the end of 1975. During his tenure there, the team averaged almost 90 wins a season and reached the World Series twice, winning it in 1983.
It is fair to say Peters lived a full life, and quite an accomplished one at that.