Cubs lose valued member ‘Salty’ Saltwell
After an iconic 40 years in the Chicago Cubs organization as a top executive, E. R. “Salty” Saltwell retired to his home in Park Ridge, Ill. in the early 2000s. The Iowa native passed away at age 96 on Monday.
Saltwell was as well-rounded of a baseball man as you could find in the game. He started his career in the game back in 1947 as an usher at Sioux City in the Western League. Working his way up in the minor leagues, he was a play-by-play man, business manager and trainer for the club.
Salty began his career with the Cubs in 1958 and became a Wrigley family go-to guy from Day 1. He worked as the head of concessions for the team as well as a Vice President, special assistant to Phil Wrigley, traveling secretary and special consultant. If you needed to know who to contact or the history of the Cubs, Salty was the one you contacted.
Mr. Wrigley asked Saltwell to become the GM of the team in 1976 after letting long time executive John Holland go. Saltwell traded Andre Thornton to the Montreal Expos for RHP Steve Renko and OF/1B Larry Bittner in the winter of 1976. That deal was panned at the time by the media as Thornton went on to hit 253 home runs and become a two-time All-Star.
Salty was a GM at Des Moines, Iowa, and Los Angeles in the old Pacific Coast League and Fort Worth — all operated and run by the Wrigley family.
After his one season as GM, he became secretary and director of park operations for the Cubs.
Mr. Saltwell suffered from a form of dementia in his later years. Before that, he was a constant visitor to Wrigley and Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa, Ariz., every spring.