Tito Francona, father of Indians manager, dies

Tito Francona, the father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona and a veteran of 15 major league seasons, died late Tuesday night. He was 84.

The Indians confirmed the news Wednesday about the passing of "one of the Tribe's great players John Patsy 'Tito' Francona" at his home in New Brighton, Pa.

"Our hearts ache as truly one of the special men in Cleveland Indians history passed away last night," Indians senior vice president of public affairs Bob DiBiasio said in a statement. "On behalf of the entire Indians organization, our thoughts and prayers are with Terry and the entire Francona family. For a generation of Cleveland fans, Tito was one of the all-time favorites to wear an Indians uniform. It was certainly a joy the past five years watching Tito and Terry be together around the ballpark. He will be missed."

The Indians acquired Tito Francona from the Detroit Tigers on March 21, 1959, in exchange for future Hall of Famer Larry Doby. He spent six years with the Indians from 1959-64.

In his first year with the Indians in 1959, the year Terry was born, Tito batted .363 and finished fifth in the American League MVP voting. He was 34 at-bats shy of qualifying for the batting title.

In 1960, Francona led the AL in doubles and in 1961 he was an AL All-Star and led the league in singles. He made his debut in 1956 with the Baltimore Orioles, finishing tied for second with Indians Hall of Famer Rocky Colavito for AL Rookie of the Year.

Francona ended his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970, and was named to the Top 100 greatest Indians roster in 2001.

Over his career, Francona hit .272 with 125 home runs and 626 RBIs in 1,719 games.

Terry Francona, who now shares his father's nickname and is often referred to as "Tito," has won two World Series titles as a manager, both with the Boston Red Sox. He was named manager of the Indians in 2013.

--Field Level Media

02/14/2018 20:26

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