Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan passed away yesterday at Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was 86. Logan was a four-time all-star including three consecutive years from 57-59 when the Braves were twice in the World Series. As Brave, Logan batted .270/.330/.384 with 92 home runs, 521RBI, 624 runs scored and 1,329 hits in 1,351 games accumulating a 32.9 WAR until he was traded mid-year 1961 to the Pirates for Gino Cimoli.
Logan was part of an infield that was the envy of the National League in their prime. He played beside the great Eddie Matthews at third and was flanked by Red Schoendienst at second base with Frank Torre and later Joe Adcock at first. The outfield wasn’t too shabby either. Wes Covington patrolled left, Bill Bruton center and Hank Aaron in right. Logan was on first when Aaron hit the eleventh inning home run that sent them to the World Series in 1957 instead of the Cardinals. They went on the upset the Yankees in seven games.
After retiring from baseball Logan remained in Milwaukee, running for county sheriff unsuccessfully three times and acting as a part time scout for the Brewers. Later he and Milwaukee Sentinel sports columnist Bud Lea led the movement that created the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association, a group dedicated to keeping the memory of the Braves in Milwaukee alive and was active in that group until he end.
“Without him, there would have been no Braves association,” said Lea, another leader in that organization. “When they tore County Stadium down, he said, ‘We’ve got to have something to remember the Milwaukee Braves.’”
Logan became an avid Brewers supporter and was at Miller Park last Sunday visiting with buddy Bob Uecker and other friends. The Brewers inducted him into their walk of fame in June. The club issued this statement about his passing:
“Johnny Logan was a longtime friend to Milwaukee baseball. His connection to both the Brewers and the Braves and the Milwaukee community was very strong. Virtually every person associated with the Milwaukee Brewers has been touched by Johnny through his many visits to the ballpark and terrific stories about his time in the game. We will miss Johnny deeply and will never forget his colorful character and personality.”
Johnny was born in Endicott New York on March 23, 1926. While many baseball references say 1927 he was simply trying to appear younger for the scouts. Some things never change. When he was “15 or 16” played semi-pro ball for $5 a game in the summer. There he was managed by Dewey Griggs who would later sign him for the Boston Braves. You may have heard of Griggs he signed some of the Braves best players. Guys like Bob Trowbridge, Wes Covington and Henry Aaron.
Logan graduated high school in January 1945 (mid year graduations happened during the war) and was immediately drafted into the Army. The Army took good care of athletes and he was allowed to try out for the baseball team. With selection for that came special duty – better food and less manual labor. His manager was Bobby Bragan whom Logan credits with teaching him how to play baseball. The former Dodger infield taught him pretty well.
Logan had battled several health issues in recent years was admitted to the hospital Tuesday with circulation problems in his legs and feet. He developed an infection that spread quickly and contributed to his death. Logan’s three sons, Jimmy, John Daniel and Jeff, were at his side when he died.
They say you can tell who you’ve touched by those who mourn when you pass.
“He was a character, but he also was a wonderful player,” said baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who grew up watching the Braves at County Stadium. “Of all the great hitters on those Braves teams — Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst, Joe Adcock — Johnny was one of the best clutch hitters they had. He was a critical part of those teams.”
“He’s one of my best friends. Even though you know it’s coming, it’s still hard,” an emotional Uecker said before the Brewers’ game in Seattle. “For a guy to come to Milwaukee and make his home there the rest of the time. … He never left. Ended up working for the organization.`
MLBTR said: Logan was also one of many golden era ballplayers to respond generously to letters from fans. Read Tom Haudricourt’s obituary and this excellent biography from Bob Buege for more on Logan.
I remember Johnny Logan and a pain my Dad’s back pocket every time the Braves played the Cubs. I searched for comments from the Braves but while there were some from Boston and Milwaukee, Atlanta has so far been silent. I find that extremely sad. I pieced together this post from the two links provided in the MLBTR quote as well as Baseball-Reference.com. The Bob Buege biography in particular is a gem. Rest well Johnny.