Luke Easter

The 6’4″ 240-lb Negro League veteran was 34 when the Indians promoted him from the minors. In 1950, they thought so highly of the lefthanded hitter that they traded Mickey Vernon, a once and future AL batting champ, making Easter their everyday first baseman. He hit 28 home runs as a rookie; one, a 477-foot shot, is considered the longest ever hit at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In 1952, he hit 31 homers (his ML career high), one less than the AL leader, teammate Larry Doby; however, Easter’s 7.1 HR percentage topped the AL. He continued playing Triple-A ball into his late forties. Working as a bank messenger in 1979, he was shot to death by holdup men.