Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lopatynski to Kollonige

Uncommon commons. Contemporary accounts of tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they helped bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.

Few among Vin Scully’s audience on the CBS radio network have known which Yankees the broadcaster was talking about if his call at the top of the 5th inning in the 1953 World Series would have been along the lines of, “Gilliam lays down a bunt, Lopatynski fields it in front of the mound and throws to Kollonige at first for the out.”

In reality Lopatynski and Kollonige were, respectively, the birth names of Yankees pitcher Ed Lopat (born 1922, New York Coty) and first baseman Joe Collins (born 1922, Scranton, Pa.).

By the 1950s, the use of shortened/anglicized versions of players’ “real” names was nearly a bygone baseball traditions. From the days of Connie Mack (Cornelius McGillicuddy), Ossee Schreck (Schreckengost), and Pete Appleton (Joblonowski), ballplayers had sometimes changed their names for personal or family reasons, or had them changed by sportswriters for convenience.

I saw a different reference in one of the 1953 Sporting News issues that intimated that Braves shortstop Johnny Logan was born with a different patronym, but if that was the case, it is not recognized by the Baseball Encyclopedia or the SABR Baseball Reference. And a google-search turned up thousands of hits, but they all refer to a current Australian singer going by the name of Johnny Logan who was born Sean Patrick Michael Sherrod.

I don’t recall the last time I heard of a major leaguer playing under such an “assumed” name. Does anybody know of any current players in this category?

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