When Al Lopez died at 97 late last month, he left a legacy that few will even approach.
He made it to the Hall of Fame and was, until Wade Boggs, the only Tampa native so honored. This son of Ybor became a source of immense pride to Tampa’s Latinos. But “El Senor” transcended his ethnic roots. Accomplishment on a national stage and a lifelong common touch will do that. How you comport yourself, how you treat people always mattered most. Al Lopez: A gentleman, a caballero.
Many who have come after him — Lou Piniella, Tony LaRussa, Tino Martinez, Luis Gonzalez and Boggs among others — were fortunate to have had such a role model and learned lessons about life away from the field of play.
But a few never took the first note. And Dwight Gooden’s not the only one.