Spotlighting Volunteers at MGC
September 28, 2012
Throughout the month of October, the Midwest Genealogy Center will be highlighting research by and information about various volunteers at MGC. The following is a compilation of genealogy research about baseball player Louis Boudreau, written by dedicated volunteer and avid researcher, Henry T.
Louis "Lou" Boudreau was born July 17, 1917 in Harvey, Cook County, Illinois. His great-grandfather, Joseph Boudreau; his grandfather, Joseph; and his father, Louis Boudreau, Sr., were of French Canadian decent, and his mother, Birdy Henry, and her mother, Sophia Friese, were of Polish-Jewish ancestry. His parents divorced when he was seven years of age. Raised by his father, Lou was an outstanding athlete, excelling in both baseball and basketball at Thornton Township High School in Harvey. At the University of Illinois, he was the captain of both the basketball and baseball teams. While there, he agreed to play for the Cleveland Indians after graduation, which got him into trouble with school officials who ruled him ineligible for collegiate sports. He played pro basketball with the Hammond All-Americans during his junior and senior years at Illinois. Lou married his hometown sweetheart, Della Elizabeth DeRuiter, in July 1938. Della’s family lived in the same area of South Chicago/Kankakee as did Lou’s for two or more generations. They remained married over 60 years until her death on Valentine’s Day in 1999. The couple had four children, and, as of the date of his death, 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
At the age of 21, Lou made his Major League baseball debut on September 9, 1938, playing first base for the Cleveland Indians, for one game, then third base. In 1939, he was moved to Shortstop, the position for which he is best remembered during his playing career. He played for the Cleveland Indians, and later the Boston Red Sox until August 1952.
In 1942, he began managing as well as continued to play the game. At age 25, he became the youngest player-manager in baseball history. He continued to manage the Indians throughout World War II. Arthritis, developed in his ankles from the strain of playing basketball, resulted in his 4F classification and thus ineligibility for military service. Following the 1950 baseball season, he moved from Cleveland to the Boston Red Sox. He served the Red Sox as player, player-manager, and finally manager through 1954.
In 1955, Lou became the first manager of the Kansas City Athletics (newly relocated from Philadelphia) and remained so until 1957. He then returned to his native Chicago and became the radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs for two years before becoming their manager in 1960. In 1961, he returned to broadcasting and continued until 1987.
He was named an All-Star player eight times during the 1940s, the last time in 1948; he also led the Indians to the World Series Championship and was named the Most Valuable Player. He died at age 84 on August 10, 2001 in Frankfort, Illinois, just across the county line from his native, Cook County. He is buried there beside his beloved Della in Frankfort’s Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
Midwest Genealogy Center