'Tito' Francona, father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, dies at 84

'Tito' Francona, father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, dies at 84

All Francona did that season was bat.359 and finish fifth in AL Most Valuable Player voting. After short stints with the White Sox and Tigers in 1958, Francona spent six years with the Indians from 1959-64.

Antonetti said he talked with Terry Francona Wednesday.

In retirement Francona was the parks and recreation director in Beaver County, Pa. For a generation of Cleveland fans, Tito was one of the all-time favorites to wear an Indians uniform.

Terry Francona, who has also been called Tito, played 10 years in the majors and managed in Philadelphia and Boston, winning two world championships with the Red Sox, before being named the Cleveland manager in 2012.

There will be private services to celebrate the elder Francona's life.


"We're all incredibly saddened by Tito's passing, " Indians president Chris Antonetti said.

Although he spent much of the latter part of his career as a part-timer, Mr. Francona told the Globe in 2004 that he had no regrets, save one: "I always seemed to be one year too late or one year too early" in his moves, missing out on a championship. In Cleveland, he was closer to his dad, who would occasionally drive in for games. "To have the opportunity to visit with him when he'd come into town, to hear his stories, to see how he and Terry connected was really meaningful". There have been so many great things for the organization and for me personally.

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.

He ended his career with Milwaukee in 1970.

Francona was a star quarterback for New Brighton High School and played American Legion baseball.

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