(from Santa Anita release)
Santa Anita Park lost an important link to its past glory when 98-year-old Eddie Logan, Santa Anita’s iconic shoeshine attendant since opening day, Dec. 25, 1934, died early on the morning of Jan. 31 at his home in Monrovia, Calif.
A former boxer and Negro League baseball player, Logan, who was born in 1910, would have been 99 on May 20.
With his sparkling eyes and quick wit, he was known as a shining ray of optimism and good humor throughout his near 75-year reign at Santa Anita. Logan greeted all of his customers with a customary smile and a work ethic truly borne of another era.
“Eddie was here from the start,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “I know this may sound predictable, but truly, Santa Anita will never be the same without him. He was an inspiration to all of us and I personally feel that my life has been enriched by having known him all these years.
“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. I think all of us will cherish our memories of Eddie and what he meant to Santa Anita,” Charles added.
Logan, who appeared in the Santa Anita winner’s circle to present the trophy for the Eddie Logan Stakes on Dec. 27, never recovered from the effects of a seizure and stroke he suffered on Jan. 3.
Blessed with remarkably good health, Logan shadow-boxed for camera crews as recently as two years ago and regaled them with stories about his time spent in professional baseball in the 1920s and early ‘30s.
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.”
He serviced jockeys such as Eddie Arcaro and John Longden to Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay and Chris McCarron, but was as much a part of the fabric of Santa Anita as any of those Hall of Fame horsemen.
“Over the years, Eddie became a great friend,” said Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. “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.
“He had that great sense of humor and he’d make you laugh. He’d talk about his days with the Kansas City Monarchs and he was just so full of life. 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.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.