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Johnny Blatnik

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John Louis Blatnik

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[edit] Biographical Information

The Cleveland Indians signed Johnny Blatnik as an amateur free agent in 1938 while he was still a high school student. In 1939 he appeared with both the class D Mansfield Braves and Greensburg Senators. He appeared in only 39 games and hit .302. He spent the next three seasons with the class D Fargo-Moorhead Twins and the class C Charleston Senators. In late 1942 the United States Military called and would keep him occupied until the 1946 season rolled around.

He no longer was a high school boy and hit .336 in 139 games for the class B Harrisburg Senators in his first post-World War II season. Johnny then was with the class A Wilkes-Barre Barons in 1947, hitting .334 in 136 games. On November 10th that year, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Indians in the 1947 Rule V Draft.

Blatnik spent the next three seasons in the majors, 1948 and 1949 with the Shibe Park club before he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 27, 1950 in return for Ken Johnson. These years would be his only ones in the majors but he did get in 138 games, compiling 447 at bats with 113 base hits for a .253 career batting average.

Johnny spent time with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League when the Cardinals sent him down in 1950, but he would spend the remainder of his career, that ended in 1956, in the International League with the Rochester Red Wings, Syracuse Chiefs and Buffalo Bisons.

Blatnik started in pro baseball in 1939 and played his final game in 1956. He had 14 active seasons in the minor leagues. He appeared in 1,336 games with 5,111 at bats and 1,471 base hits, including 134 home runs for a career .288 batting average.

Blatnik worked for and retired from the Workers Compensation Bureau of the State of Ohio. He lived in the city of Lansing, OH and passed away on January 21, 2004.

[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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