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John ‘Tito’ Francona, former major leaguer and father of Terry, dies at 84

The elder Francona played in the majors for 15 seasons, six with the Indians.

Tito Francona, former Cleveland Indians outfielder and father

Tito Francona, former Cleveland Indians outfielder and father of manager Terry Francona, throws a ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series, against the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Cleveland. Photo Credit: AP / Paul Sancya

CLEVELAND — Former major leaguer John “Tito” Francona, the father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, has died. He was 84.

The Indians said the elder Francona died unexpectedly at his home in New Brighton, Pennsylvania on Tuesday night. Francona played in the majors for 15 seasons, six with the Indians.

Terry Francona is affectionately called “Tito” after his father.

Tito Francona batted .363 and finished fifth in AL MVP voting in 1959, his first season with the Indians. He led the AL in doubles the following year, and in 1961 he was an AL All-Star and led the league in singles.

Francona made his debut in 1956 with the Baltimore Orioles. He retired as a player following the 1970 season with Milwaukee.

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