Tristram E. (Tris) Speaker, professional baseball player, was born on April 4, 1888, in Hubbard, Texas, one of three boys and five girls of Archie O. and Nancy Jane (Poer) Speaker. In 1905 he attended Polytechnic College in Fort Worth, and in 1906 he started his baseball career as a fifty-dollar-a-month player with Cleburne of the North Texas League. In 1907 he played with Houston and the Boston Red Sox and in 1908 with Little Rock. The Boston Red Sox recalled him in 1909, and he stayed with them through 1915. From 1916 through 1926 he played in Cleveland. In 1920, as manager at a salary of $57,000, he led Cleveland to its first pennant. In 1927 Speaker played with Washington, and he finished his career with Philadelphia in 1928. After retirement he became a sales representative for an Ohio steel company and a coach in Cleveland. During his twenty-two years in the major leagues he recorded a lifetime batting average of .345. In 1937 he was the seventh player named to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 1951 he was the first athlete named to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. At the age of thirty-six Speaker (sometimes called the Gray Eagle or Spoke) married Mary Frances Cuddihy. He died of a heart attack on a fishing trip to Lake Whitney on December 8, 1958, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery at Hubbard.
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Austin American, December 9, 1958. Thomas M. Hopwood, Great Texans in Sports (Fort Worth: Hopwood Productions, 1975). Harold V. Ratliff, Paths to Glory: Great Men and Women in Texas Sports History (Waco: Word, 1972). Thomas E. Turner, "Gray Eagle of the Golden Era," Texas Parade, June 1961.
Sports and Recreation
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Mary Beth Fleischer,
“Speaker, Tristram E.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 11, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
July 1, 1995