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Joe Glenn

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Joseph Charles Glenn
born Josef Guzensky

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Joe Glenn caught both sluggers Babe Ruth and Ted Williams in a major league game. He was behind the plate for the New York Yankees when Ruth made his final pitching appearance on October 1, 1933, and again with the Boston Red Sox when Williams pitched for the only time, on August 24, 1940.

The son of Polish immigrants, he grew up in the coal mining region of eastern Pennsylvania and worked in the mines himself while playing semi-pro baseball. He also played for St. Thomas College but was never a student there (eligibility rules were looser in those days). He was originally a pitcher, but his wildness made teams try him out at other positions, and he stuck at catcher. He played for a couple of teams in the New York-Penn League in 1928 to begin his career, the Harrisburg Senators and Syracuse Stars. In 1929 Syracuse became the Hazleton Mountaineers where he was the regular catcher. He hit .298 in 114 games for the Albany Senators in 1931, then made his debut with the Yankees at the end of the 1932 season after playing the year with the Springfield Rifles of the Eastern League and the Newark Bears of the International League.

Glenn played briefly in the majors in both 1932 and 1933, went back to Newark for a full season in 1934, then spent all of 1935 in New York, although he played only 17 games. As the back-up to Hall of Famer Bill Dickey, he never did play much in pinstripes, staying on the team until 1938 with a high of 129 at-bats in 1936. One of the highlights of his time with the Yankees was catching Monte Pearson's no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians on August 27, 1938. The Yankees went to the World Series four times while Joe was with them, but he never saw any postseason action. On October 26th of that year, he was traded to the St. Louis Browns along with Myril Hoag in return for Oral Hildebrand and Buster Mills.

The trade gave him a chance to play more often with the Browns in 1939, getting into 88 games and getting 286 at-bats. He hit .273 with 4 homers and 29 RBIs. He was the team's most-used catcher, in front of Sam Harshaney and Hal Spindel. However, he angered team management when he held out for a higher salary at the start of the 1940 season, and on April 25th, his contract was sold to the Red Sox before he could get into a game. He played only sparingly with 22 games and a .128 batting average in what was his final major league season. Gene Desautels and Johnny Peacock were the team's main catchers.

Glenn went back to the minor leagues with the Louisville Colonels of the American Association in 1942, the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League in 1943, and the Kansas City Blues of the A.A. in 1944. He was the starter on top minor league teams all three years. The Yankees had reacquired him by then, as insurance in case Dickey or back-up Rollie Hemsley were called up by Uncle Sam to serve in World War II, but instead it was Glenn who was drafted. He served in the United States Navy from April 1, 1944 to November 17, 1945.

After returning from military service, Joe Glenn managed in the minor leagues for parts of five seasons, including the Lockport Cubs in 1946, the Martinsville Athletics and Moline A's in 1947, the Moline A's again in 1948 (although the team moved and became the Kewanee A's mid-season), the Stamford Pioneers in 1949, and the Carbondale Pioneers in 1950. He also played for most of those teams, seeing his last action with Stamford in 1949. After baseball, he was an automobile salesman in Scranton, PA.

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