Lou Boudreau was born on July 17, 1917, in Harvey, Illinois. He graduated from Thronton High School in Harvey and the University of Illinois, excelling in sports at both schools. He quickly made a name for himself in the professional ranks, playing his first game with the Cleveland Indians in 1938 and joining the team full-time in 1940 as shortstop.
One of Lou’s most remarkable on-field accomplishments occurred in 1942 when, at the age of 24, he was named player-manager and became the youngest person to manage a major league team for a full season. In 1948, the Indians, under Lou’s leadership, won the World Series. During that season, Boudreau recorded a career high .355 average with 18 home runs, 106 runs batted in, 199 hits, and just nine strikeouts. He went 4 for 4 with two home runs in a one-game playoff with Boston for the league championship that year and was named American League MVP. He was also a seven-time All Star. His number 5 was retired by the Cleveland Indians.
Boudreau’s baseball career continued with player and manager assignments with the Boston Red Sox and a period as manager of the Kansas City Athletics. In 1958, Lou moved to the broadcast booth for the Chicago Cubs. With the exception of the 1960 season, when he managed the Cubs, Boudreau remained in the booth until 1987. During nearly three decades, he worked with such broadcast legends as Jack Quinlan, Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd. The “good kid,” as he was known, was popular with listeners because of his personality and knowledge of the game and was also known for the cow bell he would ring to celebrate Cub home runs or other exciting moments.
Following his retirement, Boudreau along with Brickhouse and Lloyd returned to the Wrigley Field booth on several occasions for reunion broadcasts on “1970’s Nights.” Lou was married for over 60 years to Della, until her death in 1999. They had four children, 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. He died on August 10, 2001.