Longtime Chicago Cubs executive Eldred "Salty" Saltwell died on Sunday, according to a team release. He was 96 years old.
Saltwell served in various roles with the Cubs organization over a 30-year stretch. He was, at certain times, the concessions manager, the traveling secretary, the assistant secretary, the assistant treasurer, and yes, the general manager. He was promoted to that post in 1976, and stayed in the role for only a single season.
Author Kevin Cook summed up Saltwell's time as Cubs general manager in his book, Ten Innings at Wrigley:
After a fifth-place finish in 1975, Wrigley replaced Holland with Eldred "Salty" Saltwell, the longtime chief of concessions at Wrigley Field, whom reporters dubbed "the general manager of hot dogs." Before the 1977 season, Saltwell traded Madlock, who wanted a raise after hitting .354 and .339 to win consecutive batting titles. He dumped Kessinger for a player to be named later, and never got around to offering pitcher Steve Stone a contract. Saltwell got fired after only one season but left Cub fans something to remember him by. It was his idea to put wire baskets atop the outfield walls to keep bleacher bums from sitting on the walls or jumping onto the field.
In other words, Saltwell may have had his talents, as it related to being a valued member of a baseball organization, but team-building was not one of them. Nonetheless, he enjoyed a lengthy, interesting career in the game.
Prior to working for the Cubs, Saltwell got his start by working as an usher for Sioux City of the Western League. True to form, he filled a number of roles for that team over the years, including trainer, play-by-play announcer, traveling secretary, and business manager.