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Johnny Broaca

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John Joseph Broaca

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[edit] Biographical Information

Johnny Broaca was a major league star who left baseball suddenly under unclear circumstances. His lifetime major league record was 40-29.

Broaca came out of Lawrence High School and later the prep school Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. He was also at Yale University, where he attended in 1932. In college he was a boxing champ and also ran the 600 yard race. He spent 1933 in the high minors at Newark, going 7-2 (Charlie Devens, out of Harvard University, was a teammate who went 10-6 and later was with Broaca on the Yankees).

In his rookie year with the 1934 New York Yankees, Broaca went 12-9 as a starter. It was Babe Ruth's last year with the team. In 1935 he went 15-7, and with the pennant-winning 1936 Yankees he was 12-7. Lefty Gomez, a year older, went 13-7.

In 1937 he started 1-4. He jumped the Yankees during the season and sat out the rest of the year, as well as all of 1938. One source claims that it had something to do with Gomez and a woman. See town of Lawrence. It was announced a week before he left that he had an arm injury.

He came back in 1939 with the Cleveland Indians, going 4-2 primarily as a reliever. All of Broaca's major league teams finished well over .500, and two of them won the pennant.

He left baseball to become a professional boxer. Eventually, he went back to his hometown of Lawrence, MA to work as a laborer. (See the "town of Lawrence" reference above). Another source says that Broaca left baseball because his wife divorced him and he worked for Tyer Rubber at low wages because, it was said, he refused to let his wife get any alimony. remembrance.

Yet other sources have different information. The New York Times had an article saying that the team voted a World Series share to Broaca's estranged wife (the first time a share was ever voted to a woman) after Broaca left the team. article. The book Joe McCarthy: Architect of the Yankee Dynasty says that Broaca abandoned his wife.

The December 1957 Baseball Digest relates a story where Gomez, unhappy that Broaca was saving his arm and refused to throw balls before a game, played a practical joke on Broaca by calling the bullpen, pretending to be the manager, and ordering Broaca to warm up for nine innings straight. The story goes that Joe McCarthy didn't know for many years why Broaca claimed to be unable to start the next day's game.

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract tells a story about Gomez getting upset at Broaca for calling him "Goofy". When asked why Gomez was upset when other players such as Pat Malone also called him "Goofy", Gomez said "Malone didn't go to Yale".

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1935)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1935 & 1936)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1936 (he did not play in the World Series)

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