33¢ Tris Speaker
Legends of Baseball
Issue Date: July 6, 2000
City: Atlanta, GA
Printed by: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11.25
The Legends of Baseball issue honors 20 baseball greats who were named to the "All-Century Team," announced after the 1999 season. Votes from fans, as well as members of a special panel, selected the team.
At the age of 16, Tris Speaker (1888-1958) was already playing semi-professional baseball. His major league career began in 1907 with the Boston Red Sox, where he established himself as one of the best outfielders in the game. The “Gray Eagle,” as he was called, played a short center field. This allowed him to catch balls that would ordinarily fall in for base hits.
By studying batting style and talking with pitchers, Speaker learned to anticipate where each batter would hit. This preparation, combined with his unique location in the field and powerful arm, resulted in Speaker earning a major league record 450 assists. Speaker also holds an American League record for twice throwing out 35 runners in a single season.
Speaker also performed at the plate. His .386 batting average led the league in 1916. In 1923, during his best season, he batted .380, and his 130 total runs-batted-in was second to Babe Ruth. Speaker played with the Red Sox until 1915. A year later, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, which he began managing in 1919. He wrapped up his career in 1928.
After his retirement, Tris Speaker broadcasted baseball games in Chicago, and co-owned the Kansas City Blues. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.