Former Milwaukee Braves Shortstop Johnny Logan Inducted Into Miller Park Walk of Fame
For those of you who are fortunate enough to know Johnny Logan, you know he is really a special man. He always has a story, a teaching tip or an anecdote about something and everything. Today is a very special day at Miller Park as the Brewers formally inducted Logan into the Miller Park Walk of Fame.
In January, the team announced Logan received over 72% of the vote (32 votes) in Walk of Fame balloting, which includes members of the media throughout Wisconsin as well as Brewers executives. Logan’s election marks the first time since Lew Burdette (2010) that a player has been inducted.
Today, Logan visited Miller Park, as he often does. But this time, he did so with family and friends who were with him to share in his honor. Logan also visited the Brewers Media Interview Room where he talked to the press for a very memorable media session with his son, Jim, and former Braves teammate, Felix Mantilla.
“This is the biggest honor I received,” Logan said to open the session. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here with my family and friends.
Logan played in Milwaukee from 1953 – 1961 and appeared in four All-Star Games as a member of the Braves. For his 13 year career, Logan hit .268 with 93 home runs and 547 RBI. He was a member of the Braves World Series Championship team in 1957 and the National League Championship team in 1958. Logan was signed by the Boston Braves in 1947 and made his Major League debut with Boston in 1951. After playing in Milwaukee, he played three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“The Milwaukee Brewers are honoring one of the top shortstops in the 1950s,” Mantilla said. “Logan came to Milwaukee in 1948, he liked this city so much that he is still here. I’m very proud to be here with my friend that I treat like a brother.”
Known for his quick wit and ability to tell a great story, Logan held court for just about 30 minutes in the Media Interview room.
He talked about when he was in fifth game and heard the New York Yankees were playing their farm team in Binghamton, N.Y. in an exhibition game. There were two obstacles he had that day before attending that game. The first was the game took place on a school day and the second was that his hometown of Endicott was seven miles away. That didn’t stop Logan, he “ran” the seven miles to see Joe DiMaggio and his beloved Yankees. But Logan soon discovered there was another problem he faced when he arrived at the stadium–he didn’t have a ticket.
“You mean you have to pay?!” Logan recalled asking the usher.
Logan found a “knothole” in the outfield wall and saw his childhood heroes that day. Somehow, he still made it home for dinner. When his mom asked how school was that day, Logan recalled his reply, “IT WAS GREAT!” He said to the group today, “Hey, baseball came first!”
Logan later remembered Mantilla trying to take his shortstop position.
“I was scared of Felix,” Logan said. “He was good, a great athlete. He had such ability. I played so hard in competing with him because who wants to sit on the bench!?”
“It was a pleasure playing with Johnny,” Mantilla said. “He had his own way of doing things, but that is why we all loved him.”
In terms of a favorite memory of his baseball career, he was quick to answer winning the 1957 World Series.
“Naturally,” Logan said. “What a thrill to beat the Yankees.”
He also recalled how close those Milwaukee Braves teams were to winning other World Series titles.
“In 1958 we had the Yankees 3-games-to-1 and ended up losing the next three. In 1956 we lost the pennant by one game. That was the year Don Larsen pitched his perfect game in the World Series. If we were there, that would have never happened!”
In a pregame ceremony, hosted by Bob Uecker, Logan told “a few stories” and shared many laughs.
“I want to tell you that Milwaukee is my home,” Logan said. “I want to thank the Brewers for this honor and I want to thank all the sportswriters for voting me in.”
Both Brewers and Phillies players lined the railings of each dugout as Logan continued with stories of an Opening Day, the 1955 All-Star Game and the 1957 World Series. Logan could have gone all night long, but there was a game to play and there was (and is) only one man who could have made sure tonight’s game started on time.
“Johnny, we are getting close to game time, can you just stay here on the field during the game and keep talking?” Uecker joked, to which, of course, Logan replied with, “Yes!”
Uecker closed the ceremony with the following quip: “In honor of Johnny Logan, the Brewers have further informed me that tonight’s game has been cancelled.”
Other past Walk of Fame honorees include Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount in 2001; Commissioner Bud Selig and Cecil Cooper in 2002; Bob Uecker and Harry Dalton in 2003; Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas in 2004; Don Money and Harvey Kuenn in 2005; Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn and John Quinn in 2007 (the first year that former Braves players appeared on the ballot); and Lew Burdette in 2010.
Each inductee is honored with a granite plaque that is placed into the terrace area walkway that surrounds Miller Park.
If you are one who appreciates baseball history, this is definitely a day you won’t forget as a special man received a special honor. You could really see in the faces of the family and friends who attended the ceremony that they too will never forget this day. Logan did a great job and his friend Mantilla reminded him of that at the end of the press conference.
“Johnny you did a great job today,” Mantilla said.
Logan didn’t skip a beat with his reply.
“What the hell did I say? All I did was sit up here and talk about baseball! It was great.”
-John and Cait