John Sherman Lollar, Jr., (August 23, 1924 – September 24, 1977) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played for 18 seasons as a catcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians (1946), New York Yankees (1947–1948), St. Louis Browns (1949–1951), and the Chicago White Sox (1952–1963).
Although Lollar was often overshadowed by his contemporary, New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, he was considered to be one of the best catchers in the major leagues during the 1950s. Lollar was an American League All-Star for seven seasons. In 1957, he received the first Rawlings Gold Glove Award for the catcher position in Major League Baseball.
He was a coach in the major leagues and managed at the minor league level after his MLB playing career ended. He was selected to be a member of the Chicago White Sox All-Century Team on September 30, 2000.
Lollar in about 1953.
|Born: August 23, 1924|
|Died: September 24, 1977 (aged 53)|
|April 20, 1946, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 7, 1963, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||808|
|Career highlights and awards|
Lollar was born in Durham, Arkansas in the rural Ozark mountains. He was a batboy for the Fayetteville, Arkansas Class D minor league team in the Arkansas–Missouri League in the 1930s. In 1943 Lollar was signed as an 18-year-old by the Baltimore Orioles, which then was a minor league franchise in the International League. In 1945 he hit 34 home runs and led the International League with a .364 batting average, winning the league's Most Valuable Player award. Baltimore had a working agreement with the Cleveland Indians and sold Lollar to the Indians after the 1945 season.
Lollar made his major league debut on April 20, 1946. He was a backup catcher for the Cleveland Indians behind catchers Frankie Hayes and then Jim Hegan. His playing time as a third string catcher was minimal so, he requested to be sent back to the minor leagues.
Lollar was traded to the New York Yankees after the 1946 season, and competed with Yogi Berra in 1947 for the Yankee catching job. Both Lollar and Berra were considered excellent hitting prospects but defensive liabilities, although both eventually would become outstanding receivers. Lollar started two games in the 1947 World Series for the Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers and went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Yankee coach and Hall of Fame catching great, Bill Dickey, advised the Yankees that Berra's left-hand bat was more suited to the dimensions of Yankee Stadium (301'-457'-461'-407'-296' LF-LCF-CF-RCF-RF) than Lollar's right-hand bat. During the 1948 season, Lollar received a hand injury due to a foul tip, resulting in limited action for the rest of the year.
Lollar was traded to the St. Louis Browns and replaced Les Moss as their starting catcher for the 1949 season. In 1950, Lollar was hitting .314 in mid-July and earned his first of seven All-Star selections (nine total games). He ended the season hitting .280 with a career-high .391 on-base percentage. In 1951, Lollar hit .252 for the season and was traded to the White Sox that November.
In 1952, Lollar took over the season's regular catching job for the White Sox from cather Phil Masi. His defensive skills improved under the tutelage of manager and former major league catcher Paul Richards. Lollar, whom Richards called "a manager on the field", was a quiet workhorse who led by example and was an excellent handler of pitchers. In 1954, after allowing a stolen base to Al Smith on May 25, he threw out all 18 would-be base stealers during the remainder of the year. He became a mainstay behind the plate for the Go-Go White Sox teams of the 1950s and early 1960s, which included future Hall of Fame members Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, George Kell, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Early Wynn.
Described as a dangerous hitter with power in Who's Who in Baseball History, Lollar played most of his career in cavernous Comiskey Park, whose dimensions were 352'-415'-352' LF-CF-RF. He tied a major League record on April 23, 1955 when he got hits twice in two different innings of the same game. Lollar never struck out more than 50 times in a season and walked more than he struck out in each of the 15 seasons he played after becoming an every day player. His career on-base percentage was higher than Berra's (.357 versus .348). He hit a career-high .293 with 28 doubles in 1956.
The White Sox finished in third place for five consecutive seasons until 1957, when the Sox held first place until late June, before finishing the season in second place behind the Yankees. Lollar won the first Gold Glove Award for catcher in 1957, which initially had one recipient per position for both leagues. That year he caught Bob Keegan's no-hitter on August 20. In 1958, the White Sox would battle back from being in last place on June 14 to once again finish the season in second place behind the Yankees. Lollar led the team with 20 home runs and 84 runs batted in.
In 1959, the White Sox won their first American League pennant since the Black Sox scandal in 1919, finishing the regular season five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. Lollar helped guide the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the American League. He also led the team once again with a career-high 22 home runs and 84 runs batted in and winning his third consecutive Gold Glove Award. He had 5 hits and 5 runs batted in, including a home run, in the 1959 World Series, as the White Sox were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a six-game series.
Lollar remained the White Sox starting catcher through the 1962 season. In 1962, he fractured his thumb on June 20 when he was hit by a pitch by Ted Sadowski of the Minnesota Twins. He did not return until July 25, and appeared in only 84 total games during the season. Lollar retired from playing at the end of the 1963 season at the age of 38.
In The Case for Those Overlooked by the Baseball Hall of Fame, published in 1992, Lollar was named as one of 32 former major league players considered worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. Seven of the book's players have since been enshrined in the Hall of Fame: Richie Ashburn, Orlando Cepeda, Larry Doby, Nellie Fox, Bill Mazeroski, Hal Newhouser, and Ron Santo. Lollar is one of 36 catchers who are portrayed in Thomas Owens’ Great Catchers.
Golden Era (1947–1972)
Lollar is currently eligible to be identified as a Golden Era ballot candidate in November 2017 by the Baseball Writers' Association of America's-appointed Historical Overview Committee (screening committee of 10-12 BBWAA members). If he gets on the Golden Era ballot list of 10 candidates, he's eligible for consideration for election to the Hall of Fame in December 2017 by the 16-member Golden Era Committee, under the Hall of Fame's, Golden Era rules for election for players.
In an eighteen-year major league career, Lollar played in 1,752 games, accumulating 1,415 hits in 5,351 at bats for a .264 career batting average along with 155 home runs, 808 runs batted in and a .357 on-base percentage. A seven-time All-Star, Lollar led American League catchers in fielding percentage four times over his career. In 1961, he committed only one error over the entire season. At the time of his retirement in 1963, Lollar's .992 career fielding percentage was the highest for a catcher in major league history. During his career, Lollar threw out 46.18% of the base runners who tried steal a base on him, ranking him 5th on the all-time list. He caught 110 shutouts during his career, ranking him 21st all-time among major league catchers. At the time of his retirement, he ranked 9th all-time in home runs by catchers.
Lollar was hired as the bullpen coach for the Baltimore Orioles on November 27, 1963. He remained in that capacity through the 1966 World Series Championship season and up until the announcement on September 28, 1967 that he would not be retained for the 1968 season. He subsequently was a coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1968 and managed the Athletics' minor league affiliates the Iowa Oaks and the Tucson Toros in the 1970s. Lollar eventually was the proprietor of a bowling alley in Springfield, Missouri, where he died of cancer at age 53 on September 24, 1977.
The 1952 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 52nd season in the major leagues, and its 53rd season overall. They finished with a record 81–73, good enough for third place in the American League, 14 games behind the 1st place New York Yankees.1954 Chicago White Sox season
The 1954 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 54th season in the major leagues, and its 55th season overall. They finished with a record 94–60, good enough for third place in the American League, 17 games behind the first place Cleveland Indians.1955 Chicago White Sox season
The 1955 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 55th season in the major leagues, and its 56th season overall. They finished with a record 91–63, good enough for third place in the American League, 5 games behind the first place New York Yankees.1956 Chicago White Sox season
The 1956 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 56th season in the major leagues, and its 57th season overall. They finished with a record 85–69, good enough for third place in the American League, 12 games behind the first place New York Yankees.1957 Chicago White Sox season
The 1957 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 57th season in the major leagues, and its 58th season overall. They finished with a record 90–64, good enough for second place in the American League, 8 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.1958 Chicago White Sox season
The 1958 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 58th season in the major leagues, and its 59th season overall. They finished with a record 82–72, good enough for second place in the American League, 10 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 25th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1958, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, the home of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League.
This was the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game without an extra base hit.For this Diamond Jubilee game, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon, who became President 10 years later. The attendance was 48,829. The game was broadcast on the NBC television and radio networks.
The first hit of the game was by legendary center fielder Willie Mays. The last scoring came in the sixth inning when the American League team took the lead after an error by third baseman Frank Thomas led to a single by Gil McDougald. Early Wynn was the winning pitcher as the American League scored a 4-3 victory.
Several players were named to the team but did not get into the game. These included Billy Pierce, Tony Kubek, Harvey Kuenn, Sherm Lollar, Rocky Bridges, Ryne Duren, Whitey Ford, and Elston Howard for the American League. For the National League team, Johnny Antonelli, Richie Ashburn, George Crowe, Eddie Mathews, Don McMahon, Walt Moryn, Johnny Podres, Bob Purkey, and Bob Schmidt were on the roster but did not play.
The next All-Star Game to be played in Baltimore was in 1993; that edition was aired on both CBS TV and radio, and played in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with a special commemoration of this game's 35th anniversary.1959 Chicago White Sox season
The 1959 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 59th season in the major leagues, and its 60th season overall. They finished with a record 94–60, good enough to win the American League (AL) championship, five games ahead of the second place Cleveland Indians. It was the team's first pennant since 1919 and would be its last until their championship season of 2005.1960 Chicago White Sox season
The 1960 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 60th season in the major leagues, and its 61st season overall. They finished with a record 87–67, good enough for third place in the American League, 10 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.1961 Chicago White Sox season
The 1961 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 61st season in the major leagues, and its 62nd season overall. They finished with a record 86–76, good enough for fourth place in the American League, 23 games behind the first-place New York Yankees. Their pitching staff surrendered 13 of Roger Maris's 61 home runs that year, the most of any team.1962 Chicago White Sox season
The 1962 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 62nd season in the major leagues, and its 63rd season overall. They finished with a record 85–77, good enough for fifth place in the American League, 11 games behind the first-place New York Yankees.Al Gettel
Allen Jones "Al" "Two Gun" Gettel (September 17, 1917 – April 8, 2005) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1945 to 1955 with several teams. He batted and threw right-handed. Gettel had a 38–45 record in 184 career games. He was born and died in Norfolk, Virginia. He spent his first two seasons with the New York Yankees, then was traded to the Cleveland Indians with Hal Peck and Gene Bearden in exchange for Sherm Lollar and Ray Mack.Al Widmar
Albert Joseph Widmar (March 20, 1925 – October 15, 2005) was an American starting pitcher and a pitching coach in Major League Baseball.
Between 1945 and 1952, Widmar played for the Boston Red Sox (1947), St. Louis Browns (1948, 1950–51) and Chicago White Sox (1952). He batted and threw right-handed. As a coach, Widmar worked with the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
In a five-season career, Widmar posted a 13–30 record with 143 strikeouts and a 5.21 ERA in 388.1 innings pitched.
Widmar played part of two Major League seasons as a reliever with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns. He debuted with the Red Sox in 1947, and was sent to St. Louis before the 1948 season in the same trade that brought Vern Stephens to Boston. After an unspectacular year with the Browns, he was demoted to Baltimore, St. Louis' Triple-A affiliate team.
In 1949, Widmar won 22 games in the International League. A year later, he returned to the Browns as a starter. After going 11–24 in two seasons, he was sent along with Sherm Lollar to the Chicago White Sox for Dick Littlefield, Joe DeMaestri, Gus Niarhos and Jim Rivera. He finished the 1952 season with the Seattle Rainiers in the Pacific Coast League, and remained with the team through half of the 1955 season. At that point, Widmar donned a Tulsa Oilers uniform, and remained with the team as player/manager through 1958.Following his playing career, Widmar became a successful minor league manager for more than a decade. He also was the pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, and later became a front office official for Milwaukee.
In 1979, Widmar became the pitching coach of the Toronto Blue Jays; he kept the job for the next ten seasons. In 1985, he guided a rotation that featured Dave Stieb, Doyle Alexander, Jim Clancy and Jimmy Key as the Blue Jays won their first AL East Division title. He was promoted to special assistant to the vice president and general manager in 1991.
Widmar died of colon cancer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age 80.Bob Roselli
Robert Edward Roselli (December 10, 1931 – November 6, 2009) was an American professional baseball player, a catcher who played in Major League Baseball between the 1955 and 1962 seasons. Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 185 lb (84 kg), Roselli batted and threw right-handed. He was born in San Francisco.
Roselli, who played most of his baseball career in the minor leagues, caught from 1950 through 1953 with three Boston Braves/Milwaukee Braves farm teams at two different levels. He missed the 1954 and most of the 1955 season due to military service while serving in Korea.Following his discharge, Roselli played in parts of three seasons with the Braves as a backup for Del Crandall (1955–56, 1958), and later joined the Chicago White Sox to help Sherm Lollar for two years (1961–62). His most productive season came with the 1961 White Sox, when he hit a career-high .263 in 22 games.
In a five-season career, Roselli was a .219 hitter (25-for-114) with two home runs and 10 RBI in 68 games, including eight runs, seven doubles, one triple, and one stolen base.
Following his big-league career, Roselli played for Triple-A Hawaii Islanders in 1963, his last baseball season. After retiring, he was a scout for the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds, worked as a salesman and also coached youth baseball teams.
Roselli died in Roseville, California, at the age of 77.Ken Wood (baseball)
Kenneth Lanier Wood (July 1, 1924 – November 22, 2007) was an American professional baseball player. He played all or part of six seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Browns (1948–51), Boston Red Sox (1952) and Washington Senators (1952–53), mostly as a right or left fielder. He batted and threw right-handed.
Wood was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina. An outfielder with a strong arm, in 1949 he threw 2 runners out at home plate in the same inning. The first runner attempted to score from second base on a right field single. Woods threw to Sherm Lollar the catcher who tagged the runner out. The next hitter hit a fly ball to right field where Woods caught it with a runner on third base. Woods also threw a perfect strike to Sherman Lollar who again tagged the runner out. He began his professional career in 1941. He made his major league debut with the St. Louis Browns in 1948. In 1950 he hit 13 home runs and posted career numbers with 42 runs scored, 24 doubles, 62 runs batted in and 128 games played, and in 1951 hit a career-high 15 home runs with 40 runs and 44 RBI in 109 games. He also appeared in part of two seasons with the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators and played his final major league game in 1953. He continued to play in the minor leagues until 1956.
In a six-season career, Wood was a .224 hitter with 34 home runs and 143 RBI in 342 games. He never batted higher than .237 in a season.
Wood died at age 83 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. According to his obituary, after his baseball career he worked for 28 years for Prudential Insurance Company.List of Gold Glove Award winners at catcher
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985 and 2007), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in the entire league; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.Iván Rodríguez has won the most Gold Gloves at catcher, with 13; all were won with the Texas Rangers or the Detroit Tigers (both American League teams), though Rodríguez has played in both leagues. Johnny Bench, who spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds, leads National Leaguers in wins, and is second overall with 10 Gold Gloves. Yadier Molina is third overall and second in the NL all time with 9. Bob Boone, who is a member of one of four family pairs to win Gold Glove Awards, won seven between both leagues during his career. Jim Sundberg has won six Gold Gloves, with Bill Freehan winning five. There have been four 4-time winners at catcher: Del Crandall, Mike Matheny, Charles Johnson, and Tony Peña. Hall of Famers who have won as catchers include Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Gary Carter. The other family pair to win Gold Gloves as catchers are brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina, who have won eleven awards between them as of the end of the 2018 season.Yadier Molina set the record for putouts among winning catchers in 2016; he put out 1,113 batters for the St. Louis Cardinals that season. In the American League, the leader is Dan Wilson, with 1,051 putouts in 1997 though he did not win the Gold Glove Award for it. Among Gold Glove winners, the most A.L. putouts was in 2012, when Matt Wieters had 994. Assist leaders include Carter (108 in 1980) in the National League and the major leagues and Sundberg (103 in 1977) in the American League. No Gold Glove-winning catchers had posted errorless seasons until Johnson (1997) and Matheny (2003) each accomplished the feat in the National League within six years; their fielding percentages in those seasons were 1.000, and Matheny posted two other winning seasons with only one error and a .999 fielding percentage in his career. Bengie Molina leads in the American League with a one-error, .999 fielding percentage season in 2002; Sherm Lollar also posted only one error in the award's inaugural season, but a reduced number of chances left his fielding percentage at .998. Yadier Molina and Johnson hold the major league record for double plays turned among winners, with 17 each. Edwards doubled off 17 runners in 1964, and Johnson matched his total in 1997. The American League leaders are Ray Fosse and Boone (16 double plays in 1971 and 1986, respectively). Bench holds the record for the least passed balls in a season, having allowed none in 1975. Rodríguez (1999) and Boone (1988) lead the American League, with one allowed. Rodríguez has the highest percentage of baserunners caught stealing, with a 60% mark set in 2001. Bench is the National League leader; he threw out 57% of potential base-stealers in 1969.Milt Jordan
Milton Mignot Jordan (May 24, 1927 – May 13, 1993) was an American professional baseball player, a 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 207 lb (94 kg) right-handed pitcher who appeared in eight Major League games for the 1953 Detroit Tigers. He was born in Mineral Springs, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.Jordan's nine-season (1948–1956) career was spent entirely in the Tiger organization. His Major League trial came at the outset of the 1953 campaign. After two scoreless appearances as a relief pitcher, Jordan was given his only MLB starting assignment by manager Fred Hutchinson on April 22 against the Chicago White Sox at Briggs Stadium. He had a rocky second inning, surrendering three runs, but he recovered to last seven full innings, giving up six runs, all earned and 12 hits, including home runs by Chicago's Sam Mele, Sherm Lollar and Vern Stephens. He departed with the Tigers trailing 6–1, and absorbed the loss in an eventual 9–7 defeat. It was his only Major League decision. In 17 innings, he allowed 26 hits, 11 earned runs and five bases on balls, with four strikeouts.
Ironically, 1953 also represented Jordan's best minor league season, in which he won 12, lost only once, and compiled a 3.11 earned run average for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the International League, mostly working as a relief pitcher.Red Embree
Charles Willard Embree (August 30, 1917 – September 24, 1996) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. His key pitch was the curveball.Nicknamed Red, due to his red hair, Emree joined the Cleveland Indians in 1939, and spent three seasons in their minor league system before joining the major league club in September 1941. After going 3–4 with a 3.86 earned run average for the Indians in 1942, he retired from baseball in order to become a farmer.He returned to baseball in 1944 with some bravado, claiming during Spring training that he would win fifteen games for the Indians that season. That did not happen, however, he did lead the International League with nineteen wins. He had a stellar minor league career with the Indians, going 74–44 with a 3.07 ERA in their farm system, but it never translated to major league success, mostly due to some hard luck. In 1946, Embree held batters to a .227 batting average, yet he had a losing record (8–12). Despite a respectable 3.29 ERA over parts of six seasons with the Indians, his record was 23–32.
Following the 1947 season, he was dealt to the New York Yankees for outfielder Allie Clark. He started his one season in New York City, in the starting rotation, and was reasonably successful in that role (5–2 with a 3.29 ERA) before moving into the bullpen. At the end of the season, he, Sherm Lollar and Dick Starr, plus $100,000 were sent to the St. Louis Browns for Roy Partee and Fred Sanford.
Embree was once again a starter when he arrived in St. Louis, however, once again lost his starting job when a July 7 loss to the Detroit Tigers in which he lasted just two-thirds of an inning dropped his record to 3–10 with a 5.03 ERA. He made three spot starts after that, going 0–2 with a 12.96 ERA. For the season, he went 3–13 with a 5.37 ERA and a save.
His contract was repurchased by the Indians prior to the start of the 1950 season. He went 31–28 with a 3.96 ERA in two plus seasons with the Pacific Coast League's San Diego Padres before moving to the Chicago White Sox organization during the 1952 season.
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