CLEVELAND — Terry Francona is known as "Tito" in Cleveland, but the real way he’s made his name here is how he’s won more games than any other manager in Cleveland baseball history. In 2016, he even helped the team win its first American League pennant in nearly 20 years.

What You Need To Know

  • Guardians manager Terry Francona will be honored during the Guardians' last home game

  • Francona, nicknamed "Tito," has accomplished a lot both in and out of the ballpark

  • Tito has raised money for cancer research and for youth development

When he’s not buzzing around town on his beloved scooter, Tito is making a buzz in the philanthropic sector. Rebecca Kodysh helps oversee the Larry Doby Youth Fund, which Tito started in 2016 to help underserved youth. Kodysh said he got the idea while in Chicago that year.

“He was having a conversation with an officer about some of the challenges that were happening, and he really just was inspired to try to create bridges for kids and police officers to just really have a better relationship,” Kodysh said. 

That’s just one of the ways he has given back to Cleveland in his decade with the team. Tito won the Brooks Robinson Community Service award in 2018 for his charitable efforts.

“He’s very passionate about youth in the community and also our military," Kodysh said. "He’s always been committed in his time here with us."

Tito has also raised money for cancer research and created a pasta sauce to fund inner city participation in sports. Michelle Blackford of the Cleveland Foundation said Francona knows how to connect with young people.

“A lot of his work has been helping to educate and prepare youth, and he does it in a way that involves sports," Blackford said. 

Kodysh said Francona ensured that the Larry Doby Fund grew, personally chipping in to it, and getting enough donors to surpass $1 million. He called it the proudest moment of his major League career.

“It was huge," Kodysh said. "So there was a lot of excitement at that time in 2016. We were getting ready for a playoff run. So that first donation that Terry made, it was uniting.”

Tito has spent more time in Cleveland than any other stop in his managerial career.

In recent years, he has been plagued by health issues. He's had both his knees and hips replaced, and he’s fought through other health issues to stay in the dugout, leading the Guardians to the divisional round and winning AL Manager of the Year in the first year with the new team name.

But there are hints that his curtain call is coming. The Guardians will honor the reigning AL Manager of the Year by giving out “thank you Tito” shirts to the first 20,000 fans at the Guardians’ final home game on Sept. 27.