Alongside their yearly list of promotions and gameday giveaways, the Cleveland Indians also revealed that two more statues will find new homes at Progressive Field this summer. The Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue in Heritage Park on May 27 and a Lou Boudreau statue outside the right-field gate on August 5.
Robinson’s 21-year Hall of Fame playing career spanned time with the Cincinnati Redlegs/Reds, Baltimore Orioles and a handful of teams in his final few seasons. Most notably, he played his final two seasons with the Cleveland Indians. The Indians are not erecting a statue in honor of two seasons on the tail end of a great career, of course. Robinson also served as the Tribe’s manager from 1975-1977; the first African-American manager to be hired in major-league history.
As a much, much less important accomplishment, Robinson is also credited with coining the phrase “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” His now-famous (and often unattributed) quote was first printed in Time magazine in 1973.
Lou Boudreau, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970, spent 13 years of his 15-year career with the Indians. In that time, the shortstop amassed 63.1 fWAR, good for third all-time on the Tribe behind fellow Indians greats Nap Lajoie and Tris Speaker. Boudreau’s best season came in 1948, when he slashed .355/.453/.534 with a career-high 18 home runs and a career-high 116 runs scored. That year he was worth an astounding 10.1 fWAR and led the Indians to their second World Series championship; their first in 28 years. Boudreau also served as the Indians manager from 1942 (when he was just 24 years old) until his final season with the Indians in 1950.
The statues of Lou Boudreau and Frank Robinson will join those of Jim Thome, Bob Feller, and Larry Doby already found at Progressive Field.