Indians' Longtime Trainer Jim Warfield Dies

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Jim Warfield, a popular trainer for more than 30 years with the Cleveland Indians, died Tuesday after suffering a brain hemorrhage a day earlier at Jacobs Field. He was 60.

Warfield, who started with the Indians in 1969, became ill shortly after arriving at the ballpark on Monday morning. He was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where he underwent surgery.

Team spokesman Bart Swain said Warfield died at 5:15 p.m.

The Indians canceled batting practice before the game, and the clubhouse was closed to reporters.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the players considered not playing out of respect for Warfield.

"The only reason they talked about playing is because of the person we're dealing with," Shapiro said. "He never missed a day of work in his life. He always had a smile on his face and he's a lightning rod for energy, positivity and everything that is good about baseball.

"Anybody who has to work right now in the Indians family, going on with day-to-day life is not easy and there isn't anyone in the Indians' family who hasn't been touched by Jimmy Warfield."

Several Indians players fought back tears after learning that Warfield had collapsed. Many of them paid tribute to him by writing "JW" on their caps for Monday night's 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

First baseman Jim Thome, one of the players closest to Warfield, sketched his friend's initials in the dirt after taking his position in the field.

Warfield was in his 32nd season with the Indians. Players said he was much more than someone who taped ankles or gave soothing rubdowns.

"He was like a second father to me," said White Sox catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., who spent 11 years with the Indians. "He always tried to put me back together."

Alomar remembered the hours he spent working with Warfield while rehabilitating following several surgeries.

"I am so sad because Jimmy always was there for me," he said. "He's one of the finest people I ever met, always kind and caring."

Manager Joel Skinner, who played three seasons with the Indians, said he also appreciated Warfield's soft touch.

"I've know him since Day One," Skinner said. "He was the first person I ever met here. He helped me get my uniform. It's tough when someone in your family is ill. We're all teammates when it comes to things like this. It's tough."

Warfield joined the Indians' organization in 1969 as trainer for the team's Class Double-A affiliate before becoming Cleveland's trainer in 1971.

He was the Indians' head trainer for 26 seasons before becoming Paul Spicuzza's assistant in 1997.

Warfield was one of the American League's trainers for the All-Star game in 1971 and 1997. He and Spicuzza were jointly honored as "Trainer of the Year" in 1992 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

Warfield is survived by his wife, Linda, and son, Jordan, a student manager for the Ohio State basketball team.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)