Former Negro Leaguer Logan dead at 98

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: February 2, 2009

ARCADIA, Ca. — Eddie Logan, who shined shoes at Santa Anita since the racetrack opened on Christmas Day 1934 and was a former boxer and Negro League baseball player, died Saturday. He was 98.

Logan never recovered after suffering a seizure and stroke on Jan. 3, and died at his home in nearby Monrovia, according to track spokesman Mike Willman.

A self-described “footman,” Logan worked at Santa Anita for nearly 75 years, servicing such Hall of Fame jockeys as Eddie Arcaro, John Longden, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincy Jr. and Chris McCarron.

Logan would often lecture horsemen about the care of their boots and shoes and the perils the stable area presented for leather.

“This leather’s got four things working against it on the backside,” Logan would say. “Salt, brace, alkali and urine.”

“Over the years, Eddie became a great friend,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said. “Our friendship was partly due to the admiration I had for him, to be operating his shoeshine stand as he did for all these years was remarkable.

Blessed with good health and good humor until his stroke, Logan greeted all of his customers with a smile and a work ethic borne of another era.

“Eddie was here from the start,” Santa Anita president Ron Charles said. “Eddie loved racing and the people in it. He was indeed a window to our past and although he lived a very long and healthy life, we just wish we could have had a lot more time with him.”

Logan played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League in the 1920s and early `30s. He appeared in Santa Anita’s winner’s circle to present the trophy for the Eddie Logan Stakes on Dec. 27.

“He had that great sense of humor and he’d make you laugh,” Mandella recalled. “He said his dad always told him, `Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, and you’ll learn something.’ I hope Santa Anita maintains his shoe shine stand forever. He was one of a kind.”

A wreathe was laid by Logan’s shoeshine stand outside the racing secretary’s office Saturday and a winner’s circle tribute to him was planned between the day’s races.

Funeral arrangements were pending.