Cleveland Indians fans and media that cover the team produced an outpouring of sympathy on social media Wednesday upon learning of the passing of Tito Francona, 84.
After his playing days were over, Francona served as the director of parks and recreation in New Brighton, Pa. Their relationship went way beyond baseball.
Tito and the kid who became Tito.More news: Indian forces target school van across LoC, driver martyred
John Patsy "Tito" Francona was 84.
Boston's title in 2004, therefore, was particularly sweet to the elder Francona. Having Terry here for the last five years, one of the most meaningful things for me was to get to know his dad and build a friendship with him. There have been so many great things for the organization and for me personally.
"He was such a warm, thoughtful, exuberant person that brightened every room he walked into, " Antonetti said.More news: Boat Collision Raises Tensions Between Greece And Turkey
After he was sacked in Boston following the 2011 season, Terry Francona spent a year in broadcasting before he was hired by the Indians. His father, who had grown up in New Brighton, near Pittsburgh, would frequently drive in for games. Tito posted a career-high.363 batting average that season while platooning as an outfielder and first baseman, then earned an All-Star nod two seasons later in 1961.
Okafor, who played his college basketball at the University of CT, was originally selected by the Charlotte Bobcats with the second overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft and proceeded to spend the first eight years of his career with the organization, capturing the Rookie of the Year award. His best year outside Cleveland came in 1956, when he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting to future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.
Francona ended his career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970, and was named to the Top 100 greatest Indians roster in 2001.More news: Alzheimer's disease reversed in mouse model