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Shanty Hogan

Shanty Hogan

Baseball Birthdays

Shanty Hogan

Position(s):
OF, C
Born:
March 21, 1906
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
240 lbs
Major League Debut:
6-23-1925 with BSN

Nicknamed for his physical resemblance to a small hut, the 6'1" 240-lb Hogan was an excellent target behind the plate as well as a solid hitter. Traded to the Giants with Jimmy Welsh for Rogers Hornsby in January 1928, Hogan hit .333, the first of four consecutive .300 seasons, and was one of seven Giants regulars to hit .300 that year. Sold back to the Braves for the 1933 season, he shook off public criticism of his weight to record 120 consecutive errorless games, 18 shy of the NL record for catchers.

Biography:

 

Hogan was listed at 6'1", 240 pounds — an exceptionally large player, especially for his era. Due to this, there are many anecdotes relating to Hogan and food. This included several conflicts with manager John McGraw, who often attempted to persuade Hogan to lose weight. He was generally known as a good natured ballplayer and a decent hitter who often hit over .300 in a season.

Hogan was signed by the Boston Braves on June 18, 1925 as an amateur free agent and made his major league debut five days later. Hogan played briefly for the Braves in his first two seasons with the team, appearing in nine games in 1925 and four in 1926, hitting for identical .286 averages both seasons. He appeared in 71 games for the Braves in 1927, with 66 hits (including 17 doubles, a triple and three home runs) in 229 at bats for a .288 batting average. The Braves traded Hogan and outfielder Jimmy Welsh on January 10, 1928 to the New York Giants in exchange for second baseman Rogers Hornsby. Giants owner Charles Stoneham announces the trade "was in the best interests of the team" Stoneham was not a fan of Hornsby abrasive style as fill-in manager for McGraw this past season‚ and thought that Hornsby welched on gambling debts. Hornsby was sued by a gambler‚ but in a civil case decided the previous December 21st in Missouri‚ where gambling is illegal‚ was found not liable.

Hogan broke out in the 1928 season, hitting .333, with 25 doubles, two triples and ten home runs in 131 games. He came in 10th in the balloting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, which was won that season by Jim Bottomley of the St. Louis Cardinals, with Rogers Hornsby ranking 13th.

He was part of a vaudeville act, telling jokes and singing parodies with Andy Cohen, a Jewish teammate from the Giants who played second baseman for the team. After the 1928 season they started performing on the Loew Circuit, with their first appearance on stage at the Loew's Commodore Theatre in Manhattan on October 15, 1928. The duo earned $1,800 a week, billed as "Cohen & Hogan", except in Boston, when the billings were reversed. In a 1960 interview, Cohen reminisced that "if we didn't kill vaudeville, we sure helped".

His vaudeville / baseball partner Andy Cohen recalled Hogan as someone who "could have been one of the best catchers ever... but he ate himself out of the big leagues." Hogan showed up for camp one year weighing 265 pounds (120 kg) and would run in a rubber suit and take hot showers in an effort to lose weight, but then he'd eat more to regain his strength, and weight. Giants Manager John McGraw tried to control Hogan's weight by watching his meal checks, but Hogan developed a system where he would write down foods McGraw would want him to eat, which the waitresses knew to replace with the foods Hogan wanted to eat. As Cohen recalled, "He'd write down spinach, but that meant potatoes. He had a whole code of his own.

Hogan batted .300 with five home runs and 45 RBI in the 1929 season. 1930 marked what is arguably his best all-around season, which he finished with a .339 average 13 home runs and 75 RBI. In 1932, his last season with the Giants, he dipped down to batting .287, with eight home runs and 77 runs batted in. The Giants sold Hogan to the Boston Braves on December 29, 1932 for $25,000.

His second stint with the Braves saw a substantial drop in performance, with Hogan batting .253 with three home runs and 30 RBI in 1933. His average inched up to .262 in 1934, with four home runs and 34 RBI. He appeared in only 56 games as catcher in 1935, batting .301 and hitting two home runs and 25 RBI. Hogan was released by the Braves on August 5, 1935, and signed as a free agent one week later by the Cleveland Indians, who sent him to theWashington Senators in December 1935.

With the Senators, Hogan was a part-time player, batting .323 with a home run and seven RBI in 19 games in 1936. The 1937 season saw him play in 21 games and bat .152, with no home runs and five RBI. He was part of a May 2, 1937 trade that sent him to the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association in exchange for catcher Johnny Riddle, but the trade was voided and the players returned to their original teams on May 20. Hogan played in his last game in the major leagues on June 13, 1937 and the Senators released him eight days later.

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Tagged:
Boston Braves, New York Giants, Shanty Hogan, Washington Senators

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