The Indians on Saturday morning announced the death of Hal Naragon, a former catcher and a graduate of Barberton High School. He was 90 years old.

Naragon, a “first-class gentleman" to those who knew him best, signed with the Indians in 1947. He made his major league debut in 1951, and then spent the next two seasons serving in the Marine Corps. Naragon played parts of seven seasons with the Indians before being traded in 1959 to the Washington Senators and retired as a player with the Minnesota Twins in 1962.

As a coach, Naragon was a member of the 1968 Detroit Tigers team that won the World Series. Prior to his death, Naragon was one of three living members from the 1954 Indians team that made it to the World Series.

“The Indians family is deeply saddened by the passing of Hal Naragon," said Bob DiBiasio, Indians senior vice president of public affairs, in a news release. "He will be remembered as a true gentleman, a great teammate and coach. Hal put the “magic” in Barberton."

Naragon was born on Oct. 1, 1928, in Zanesville and then relocated to Barberton with family.

After his playing days, Naragon opened a sporting goods store that he eventually sold in 1990. Barberton High School recognizes star baseball players with the Hal Naragon Award, the school's baseball field is named in his honor and the baseball team holds a classic each spring that bears his name.

Barberton fifth-year Athletic Director John Sabol said he has known Naragon since he was a kid.

“I was probably about 9 or 10 years old and I went in and bought a catcher’s mitt from him, and obviously he was a catcher himself,” Sabol said. “He went through the whole thing with me about being a catcher, and then also gave me one of those things that you put in as a pad when kids throw a little bit harder. He talked to me about baseball and being a catcher, and I still have that catcher’s mitt to this day.”

Sabol said he worked for Naragon in his store during a summer and then during a Christmas break in the mid-1980s.

“He and his wife are first-class people,” Sabol said. “They loved Barberton and loved all sports in Barberton. He loved doing things for the community, the kids and the schools. I would call them ‘The first couple of Barberton.’ If you saw one, you saw the other.”

The Indians honored the Magics legend at a game earlier this month.

“They gave him a parking pass for his family in the players lot, gave them a loge and they honored him on the scoreboard during the game [at Progressive Field],” said Sabol, who taught social studies and was the Barberton boys soccer coach for the previous 18 years.

Former Barberton boys basketball coach Jack Greynolds Jr. attended that Indians game with some of his family and the Naragons.

“Hal was probably my dad’s best friend,” Greynolds Jr. said. “He and Hal really hit it off. Way back sometime in the 1970s, I met him for the first time. He would take my dad and I to an Indians game once or twice a year for quite a while [at Cleveland Municipal Stadium]. My dad hung out with him down at the store quite a bit, Naragon Sporting Goods.”

Naragon regularly attended Barberton boys basketball games, including ones in which Greynolds Sr. coached and Greynolds Jr. played.

Greynolds Jr. broke into coaching, and eventually was a head coach for over two decades with stops at Rootstown, Tallmadge, Buchtel, GlenOak and most recently at Barberton.

“Hal and his wife Joanne came to probably five, six, seven games a year at every place I have been,” Greynolds Jr. said.

Rob Culbertson was also friends with Naragon.

“He was a first-class gentleman in how he conducted himself, how he comported himself in the Barberton community and gave back to the Barberton community,” Culbertson said. “He was always about sportsmanship and how the game was played, and how kids and young adults should handle themselves in competition.”

Culbertson said he first got to know Naragon in the early 1980s when he was an athletic trainer in Barberton. Culbertson spent 28 years as a biology teacher and Barberton’s athletic trainer, and was also the Magics athletic director for four years.

“In my opinion, Mr. Naragon is the epitome of what you think a pro athlete should aspire to be,” Culbertson said. “He graduated from high school, went on and has had his pro career, then he came back to the game as a coach and then he came back to his hometown. He has made so many contributions to this community.”