Whirty: Looking back at Luke Easter’s early days

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Cleveland.com on August 5, 2015:

The end of the life of former Indians great Luke Easter is, tragically, well known — on March 29, 1979, the union steward was murdered by robbers as he made a late-night bank deposit. He was 63.

But even more than 36 years later, very little is known about the enigmatic, charismatic slugger’s very roots. The beginning of Luscious “Luke” Easter’s life — he was born exactly 100 years ago today — isn’t so much shrouded in mystery as it is vastly misunderstood and unexplored.

Easter played with the Indians from 1949-54, batting .273 with 93 homers and 340 runs batted in, and becoming a fan favorite. The left-handed hitting first baseman was known for his power, and is credited with having hit the longest homer at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, a 477-foot blast to right field. After his death, a park in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood was renamed in his honor.

Many contemporary articles published at the peak of Easter’s career asserted that he was born in St. Louis; a July 1948 column by famed Baltimore Afro-American sportswriter Sam Lacy, for example, states that Easter was born in St. Louis and his real first name was Lucius. Even Easter’s Ohio death record lists his birthplace as Missouri.

Read the full article here: http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2015/08/luke_easter_looking_back_at_th.html

Originally published: August 5, 2015. Last Updated: August 5, 2015.