Tristram E. Speaker (April 4, 1888 – December 8, 1958), nicknamed "The Grey Eagle", was an American baseball player. Considered one of the best offensive and defensive center fielders in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), he compiled a career batting average of .345 (sixth all-time). His 792 career doubles represent an MLB career record. His 3,514 hits are fifth in all-time hits list. Defensively, Speaker holds career records for assists, double plays, and unassisted double plays by an outfielder. His fielding glove was known as the place "where triples go to die."
After playing in the minor leagues in Texas and Arkansas, Speaker debuted with the Boston Red Sox in 1907. He became the regular center fielder by 1909 and led the Red Sox to World Series championships in 1912 and 1915. In 1915, Speaker's batting average dropped to .322 from .338 the previous season; he was traded to the Cleveland Indians when he refused to take a pay cut. As player-manager for Cleveland, he led the team to its first World Series title. In ten of his eleven seasons with Cleveland, he finished with a batting average greater than .350. Speaker resigned as Cleveland's manager in 1926 after he and Ty Cobb faced game fixing allegations; both men were later cleared. During his managerial stint in Cleveland, Speaker introduced the platoon system in the major leagues.
Speaker played with the Washington Senators in 1927 and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928, then became a minor league manager and part owner. He later held several roles for the Cleveland Indians. Late in life, Speaker led a short-lived indoor baseball league, ran a wholesale liquor business, worked in sales and chaired Cleveland's boxing commission. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. He was named to the Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players (1999) and to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
By Dean Hanley
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