CHICAGO (AP/CBS) — Eldred “Salty” Saltwell, who worked in a variety of roles including general manager and vice president over 30 years with the Chicago Cubs, has died, the team said. He was 96.

The Cubs said his death Sunday was not related to the novel coronavirus.

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Saltwell arrived in Chicago in 1958 and served as concession manager, traveling secretary, assistant secretary, assistant treasurer, secretary, general manager, vice president and consultant.

He replaced John Holland as GM following the 1975 season and lasted one year in that role, drawing criticism for trading shortstop Don Kessinger and first baseman Andre Thornton as the Cubs finished fourth in the NL East at 75-87.

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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.

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