Former Braves Shortstop Johnny Logan Dies


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.”

 

And

“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.

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  • Clay Marston

    JOHNNY LOGAN WAS ONE OF THE VERY BEST IN THE GAME IN HIS ERA … HE WAS TOUGH AROUND THE BAG ALTHOUGH HIGHLY RESPECTED … A VERY INTERESTING MAN TO SPEAK WITH ABOUT THAT PERIOD OF TIME.

  • cheadrick

    My dad remembers Johnny fondly, and called me when news broke of his death to ask if I had read much on Johnny over the years. Yes, I have, and yes, he was a great player. Like all Braves’ players, he will live forever in our memories.

  • Matthew Jones

    I did think that it was odd that there wasn’t even a press release by the Braves about this. I know it’s hard to keep up with all of your former players, but geez, he was a pretty integral part of the late ’50s Braves World Series teams. A simple press release saying that the Braves hearts and minds are with his family would have been nice.

    • fireboss

      I’m perplexed that the Braves haven’t mentioned Logan’s death. On the night I posted this I tweeted Chip Carey and ask they hadn’t mentioned it. during their broadcast that was just entering the 7th inning. His reply was ” getting there. Geez.” His implication that he and Joe had better thing to do for the first six innings doesn’t hold up. They simply didn’t know and weren’t prepared for it. When they did mention it, the statement appeared thrown together, there were no pictures, no reference to his role in their trips to world series or any details really. It wasn’t as if it happened that day, it was in the newspapers Saturday Morning as well as on Yahoo Sports, ESPN, and numerous other sites as well. The Braves blew this one big time I checked again today and still there’s been no statement on the Braves site. Apparently Frank Wren, John Schuerholz and company are more worried about a Twitter spat than a the death of a player who was a huge part of Braves history. That’s just not right.

      • Matthew Jones

        Seems to me it’s more than just the front office, but again a culture of ownership that just doesn’t care very much about the Braves themselves. Granted, they’re not particularly involved other than the bottom line, so I guess it’s too much to expect them to do anything more than have a baseball team.

        Talking about Carey, I was watching the replay of the game yesterday (since I was at the game). He more or less repeated everything verbatim about the brother veterans that the stadium announcer did, except worse. I didn’t like Carey when he was around in the early 90s, and I like him even less now. And Joe Simpson dang near roots for the other team at times. I don’t necessarily have to have a ‘homer’ of an announcer every game, but I do want an announcer that actively supports the team.

        • fireboss

          Your view about Chip’s announcement supports my belief that he had no idea. He’s an awful broadcaster among a crop of awful broadcasters. Joe seems to get dumber every day he sits by Chip. I understand why the Cubs fired him, I can do better that Chip and I haven’t used a mike in 5 or 6 years.
          The owners are restricted from anything to do with the day-to-day operation of the team as a requirement of MLB allowing the transfer so I don;t blame them. The is run ny MCguirk through JS and FW. It is their responsibility to know these things. We hear on broadcasts all the time how this person or that had a baby, got married or died and most are only part of the organizational fringes. The lack of respect for Logan is shameful. I’d have thought with ex-teammate Aaron as an adviser something appropriate would have been done. So far I haven’t seen that at all. Logan didn’t leave the Braves, they left him in Milwaukee when they moved. he was always a Brave at heart. Right now the Braves appear to have no heart.

          • cheadrick

            Honestly, other than talking with my dad about Johnny, I wasn’t even thinking about it with the broadcast, but now that you guys point it out, I looked and it was obvious they were clueless, or didn’t care. I fully agree with the sentiments about bout Chip and Joe. Joe, in particular, gets under my skin a LOT. I could go on all day, but where I fully lost respect for him was when he began making what I considered to be very rude comments about Hunter Pence’ “awkwardness”. Yes, he is awkward acting, but so what!? He’s a good ball player, and deserves more from a broadcaster than the kinds of comments Joe regularly makes when we play against Pence and Co. I don’t mind at all saying, Joe is a total moron, and Chip is nothing more than a glorified color guy. My daughter can analyze baseball better than Simpson.

          • fireboss

            Joe gets dumber the longer he sits by Chip. and on pence. I believe it was Milo Hamilton bu tit could have been Larry Dierker when he was announcing for the Astros or one of their stand-ins that said Pence looks awkward running, throwing hitting and isn’t at all elegant. All he does is hit 20 homers, drive in 80 runs, steal a dozen bases a year while catching everything that comes his way and throwing out enough runners to make them think twice about running on him. Why would anyone want that?

          • cheadrick

            haha. Yeah, I hated missing out on Pence back when we had a hair of a chance at him. Pence is awkward, not just his running, but pert near everything he does. I could care less! Joe’s comments were not only rude about Pence, but they smack of an air of superiority, as if you’re not cool unless you have certain social graces, etc. Ridiculous. Is it just me, or does Joe Simpson seem, well, kind of fake at times?

          • fireboss

            I really wanted both but Pence would have been a great add and likely a better long term asset. Joe isn’t all that smart he morphs into the guy he’s sitting next to. He’s a classic Ron Burgandy, outit on the teleprompter and he can read it but don;t let him extemporize. Sitting with the hair teeth and eyebrows brought him down. That said there are a crop of awful broadcasters on Fox, the Fish, and Nats are awful. Really need a new duo who aren’t from the cookie cutter mlb announcer school.

  • William

    As a 10 year old I got to see the Braves in an exhibition game in l959 in a one-tank town in SC. Logan came to the fence where the three of us kids were watching warm-ups, took our autograph book (stolen from a sister!) and passed it around among the players near the dugout. Buhl, Spahn, Aaron, Adcock ..even Fred Haney. What a kind, good-hearted hero!

    • fireboss

      That’s a special story William and typical of Logan who always remembered where he came from. Thank you for sharing that.