Hank Peters, former Indians team president, dies at 90
Hank Peters, who had two different stints with the Indians and is credited with building the foundation of success the franchise enjoyed in the 1990s, passed away on Sunday after complications from a recent stroke in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 90.
Peters was first with the Indians as Vice President/Director of Player Personnel from 1966-71. After serving as General Manager and Executive Vice President in Baltimore from 1976-87, Peters was hired by the Indians four weeks later as Team President and General Manager, serving in that capacity until retiring after the 1991 season. With the Orioles, Peters led them to two World Series appearances, including a championship in 1983.
"The Cleveland Indians organization lost a cherished member of the family this morning.
We are saddened by Hank's passing and express our deepest sympathy to his daughter, Sharon, son, Steve and grandchildren," said Indians President Mark Shapiro in a statement. "We celebrate Hank's instrumental role in the renaissance of Indians Baseball. Hired in November of 1987 by owner Dick Jacobs, Hank was the foundation of the rebirth of baseball in Cleveland that led to a new ballpark, modernized baseball and business operations and, ultimately, championship teams."
Among Peters' best moves with the Indians were trading for Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Baerga in 1989, promoting Mike Hargrove as manager in 1991 and hiring John Hart as his successor.
"Hank Peters was a man of incredible class and character, and one who positively impacted the lives of those who worked with him. He was a smart baseball man, a great leader, and one of the most honorable men I have ever known," said Hart in a statement to Fox Sports Ohio. "I learned how to run a Major League organization from Hank Peters, and his lessons have served not only me, but countless other baseball executives throughout this industry who fall under his tree.
"As good as he was professionally, he was even better personally. Solid, strong, loyal, caring, and with a great sense of humor-the man never had a bad day. I will be forever grateful for the professional opportunities that Hank provided for me, and for his leadership and friendship throughout our years together. There have been just a few people in my life that I totally admire, trust, and respect, and Hank Peters is at the top of that list. I will miss him, and will be forever impacted by our time together."
Peters first broke into baseball in 1946 after serving three years in the Army in World War II. He began his baseball career working for his hometown St. Louis Browns, where he met his wife Dottie, who passed away in 2010. They were married 59 years.