Eddie Logan dies at 98; Santa Anita Park shoe shiner

Eddie Logan, who ran a shoeshine stand at Santa Anita Park from the day the horse racing track opened in 1934 until a few weeks ago, died Saturday. He was 98.

Logan, who in his younger years was a boxer as well as a baseball player in the Negro Leagues, died at his home in Monrovia after suffering a seizure and stroke in early January, the racetrack announced.

Called “the foot man” by his many loyal customers, Logan was a fixture at the Arcadia track for 74 years. Jockeys, trainers, track employees, bettors and spectators all made their way to his brass-trimmed stand, where he would shine their shoes, sell them a Racing Form and shoot the breeze.

“I’ve been getting my shoes shined by Eddie 34 or 35 years or so,” Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella told The Times in 2006. “When I started coming around, he was already a legend.”

Logan liked to talk, and he liked to work, but he didn’t give tips on horses.

“I don’t finesse the customer, don’t cheat him. I just give a piece of leather what it needs,” he told then-Times columnist Scott Ostler in 1982.

Logan was born in Arkansas on May 20, 1910, and grew up in Kansas City, Mo. He often told stories of playing the outfield, shortstop and catcher with the Homestead Grays and the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, and of going on barnstorming tours with Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Logan also boxed, and he said he came to Southern California in 1930 for better fights and richer purses.

Along the way he worked in a shoe factory and for a trucking company.

In 1932, when Santa Anita was under construction, Logan was hired to herd the peacocks living on the site west across Baldwin Avenue, to what is now the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Two years later, when the track opened Dec. 25, 1934, Santa Anita founder Dr. Charles Strub hired Logan to operate the shoeshine stand, and he manned it until Jan. 3.

In 2006, the inaugural Eddie Logan Stakes, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, was run at Santa Anita, and Logan left his post at the shoeshine stand to present the winning trophy in the winner’s circle.

He is survived by his third wife, Marie, and a number of grandchildren.

More information about survivors was unavailable Saturday.

Services are pending.