Opened on Christmas 1934, Santa Anita Park has a long and storied history. But on Saturday, a cherished part of the track’s past was lost when the beloved shoe shine man Eddie Logan died.
He was 98.
Logan was remarkable because he was working the day Santa Anita opened some 75 years ago, and had been operating there ever since. In fact, he was almost 100 years old and he was still shining shoes at his stand right up until a few weeks ago. But on Jan. 3, Logan took a seizure while working at the race track and was rushed to Arcadia Methodist Hospital.
Logan never fully recovered and he died at his Monrovia, Ca. home early Saturday morning.
The friendly Logan, known as “The Footman,” typically greeted customers and horseplayers who strode by his stand with “have a lucky day.” In 2006, the Hill Rise Stakes for two-year-olds was renamed the Eddie Logan Stakes and last Dec. 27 Logan was in the winner’s circle for the trophy presentation.
“Truly, Santa Anita will never be the same without him,” said the track’s President Ron Charles on santaanita.com. “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,” Charles continued. “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.”
On Saturday, Logan’s stand was covered with a green tarp and a bouquet of flowers was left behind.
A former Negro league baseball player in the 1920’s and ’30’s, Logan often talked about his ball playing days with the Homestead Grays and the Kansas City Monarchs, and of barnstorming tours with Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Logan played outfield, shortstop and catcher.
Logan also liked to lecture horsemen about taking care of their boots, and his customers included top trainers and some of the best jockeys to ever ride: Eddie Arcaro, John Longden, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay and Chris McCarron.
Trainer Richard Mandella struck up a friendship with Logan because he admired Logan’s longevity and enjoyed talking to him.
“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 you mouth shut and your eyes open, and you’ll learn something,’ Mandella said. “I hope Santa Anita maintains his shoe shine stand forever, he was one of a kind.”