Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and what better day of the year to honor former Negro League and Cleveland Indian "star" named Luke Easter.
While I never saw him play or even had heard of him prior to doing some Easter "research", it seemed only appropriate to do a post today on him.
Standing 6'4" tall and weighing in at 240 lbs, Easter was a powerful man who led the Negro League in HR and RBI's in 1948 and led the Homestead Grays to victory in the last Negro League World Series ever held. From there he was signed by Bill Veeck, the then owner of the Cleveland Indians.
Having a strong performance in the minors in 1949, Easter was called up briefly that year and then won the regular first baseman's "job" in 1950, prompting a trade of All-Star Mickey Vernon.
The next three years in Cleveland (1950, 51 and 52) Easter would hit a combined 86 HR's and drive in 307 runs. In 1952 Easter would finish 13th in MVP voting. Knee and ankle troubles allowed Easter to only play briefly in '53 and '54, eventually calling his playing days over in 1954.
Easter was known for his tape measure homeruns and according to Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract; Easter is ranked as the second best first baseman in the history of the Negro Leagues. James also goes on to say "if you could clone him and bring him back, you'd have the greatest power hitter in baseball today, if not ever."
Luke Easter died in 1979, but I find no other player worthy of today's post. So . . . Happy Easter, Luke and Happy Easter everyone !
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