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Joe Shlabotnik

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Joe Shlabotnik is a fictional baseball player featured in the Peanuts comic strip. Shlabotnik was often mentioned as Charlie Brown's favorite player. Brown spent much of his free time trying to hunt down Joe memorabilia -- baseball cards, autographs, personal meetings, and organized a Joe Shlabotnik Fan Club, complete with a newsletter which folded after one issue.

Shlabotnik was demoted to the minors after having a .004 batting average over an entire season; his one hit was a bloop single with his team comfortably ahead. His greatest achievements included making spectacular plays on routine fly balls and throwing out a runner who had fallen down between first and second. After being sent down to the Green Grass League (a bush league), Shlabotnik retired as a player and agreed to manage the Waffletown Syrups. Sadly, he was fired after only one game, after calling for a squeeze play ... with no one on base.

Linus van Pelt once invited Shlabotnik to a testimonial dinner for Charlie Brown; unfortunately, the ballplayer got lost en route from his day job at a car wash. Another time he was scheduled to appear at a sports banquet where fans could dine with their favorite athletes (the guest list included Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Jack Nicklaus, and Peggy Fleming), and Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy bought tickets to sit at Joe's table. He was the only athlete who didn't show up, explaining later that he had marked the wrong event, city, and date on his calendar. Charlie Brown never did meet his hero.

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