Ernie Lombardi

Ernie Lombardi

Schnozz, Bocci
April 6, 1908
6' 3"
230 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-15-1931 with BRO
Allstar Selections:
1938 MVP
Hall of Fame:

Lumbering man-child Ernie Lombardi won two batting titles, the first catcher to do so. In 1938 he was named National League Most Valuable Player, in 1939 he helped the Cincinnati Reds to the World Series, and in 1940 he led the Reds to the World Championship. A cartoon-lie figure, Lombardi was considered the slowest player in the game, had a notoriously large nose, and hands so large he could hold five baseballs in one palm. A fair defensive player, he made his name with his bat, fashioning a .306 lifetime average with 190 home runs, a total exceeded by only two other right-handed hitting catchers when he retired. Like Enos Slaughter, Lombardi was an outspoken critic of the Hall of Fame, as the years passed and he was not elected. In 1986, eight years after Lombardi had died, the Veterans Committee elected him to Cooperstown.

Team Mates:
Al Lopez
Frank McCormick
Lony Frey
Dave Bancroft
Billy Myers
Babe Herman
Kiki Cuyler
Mel Ott

Johnny Vander Meer
Bucky Walters
Paul Derringer
Dave Koslo
Dazzy Vance
Eppa Rixey

Bill McKechnie

Best Season: 1938

Lombardi hit .342 with 19 homers and 95 RBI in 129 games, and was named National League Most Valuable Player. The "Homer in the Gloamin'" was a large reason why.

Most Games Caught, (1931-1947)?Al Lopez... 1,730 ?Ernie Lombardi... 1,544?Bill Dickey... 1,474?Rick Ferrell... 1,362?Gus Mancuso... 1,250
Where He Played:

Catcher - could this guy have played anywhere else?

Uniform Numbers:

Ernie wore ten different uniform numbers, for some reason: #7 (1932-1933), #27 (1934), #17 (1935), #2 (1936-1937), #35 (1938), #4 (1939-1941), #5 (1942), #9 (1943), #8 (1944-1946), #6 (1947)

Similar Players

Spud Davis and Smoky Burgess, though neither was quite as good.

Related Players:

Babe Herman was the player the Reds wanted in their March 14, 1932, trade with the Dodgers, but Lombardi was thrown in as an afterthought, making it one of the best trades in Cincinnati history... Lombardi caught each of Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hit games in 1938... In Game Four of the 1939 World Series, Yankee outfielder Charlie Keller collidded with Lombardi at home plate, stunning the Reds' catcher. Two more runners glided in to score as Lombardi lay on the ground semi-conscious. The play became known as "Lombardi's Snooze" or "Lombardi's Swoon"... After Lombardi suffered an injury in the middle of the 1940 season, Reds #2 catcher Willard Hershberger took over. Despite playing well, the fragile Hershberger committed suicide in August after a poor performance in a game against the Giants.

Post-Season Appearances:

1939 World Series,1940 World Series

Post-Season Notes:

Lombardi was injured and only appeared in two games of the 1940 World Series.

Awards and Honors:

1938 NL MVP

Batting Feats
    •    May 9, 1937: 6 Hits...
Transactions?March 14, 1932:

Traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with Wally Gilbert and Babe Herman to the Cincinnati Reds for Tony Cuccinello, Joe Stripp, and Clyde Sukeforth; February 7, 1942: Purchased by the Boston Braves from the Cincinnati Reds;

April 27, 1943: Traded by the Boston Braves to the New York Giants for Hugh Poland and Connie Ryan. ??The Dodgers dealt Lombardi to he Reds because they already had a fine catcher: Al Lopez.

All-Star Selections ?1936 NL?1937 NL?1938 NL?1939 NL?1940 NL?1942 NL?1943 NL?1945 NL?

Replaced:Clyde Sukeforth, who was dealt to Brooklyn in the deal that netted Lombardi for the Reds.

Replaced By:Walker Cooper, who returned from the war in 1946 and took back his starting job with the Giants.

Best Strength as a Player:He was a pure hitter.

Largest Weakness as a Player:

He was quite possibly the slowest runner in baseball history. If he and Edgar Martinez were to have a foot race, I think it's plausible that Edgar would beat Ernie by a significant margin.

1939 World Series, 1940 World Series, 1986 Hall of Fame, Baseball History, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Ernie Lombardi, New York Giants
Share |