John Baumgartner

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John Edward Baumgartner

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Biographical Information[edit]

"When I was going up to the plate against him the first time, Steve Souchock told me he had nothing on his fastball. Three pitches later I was back in the dugout and everyone had a good laugh. But I did fly out against him the next three times." - John Baumgartner, remembering (with a laugh) his batting against Bob Feller in 1953

John Baumgartner was signed as an amateur free agent by the Detroit Tigers before the 1950 season. With a great spring training in 1953, he surprisingly opened the season as the team's starting third baseman, replacing future Hall of Famer George Kell (who had been traded to the Boston Red Sox). Unfortunately, his play was lackluster and his big league stay ended after one week.

Out of the University of Alabama, he was originally assigned to the Jamestown Falcons of the Class D Pony League where he hit .307 with 6 home runs, playing as an outfielder. Baumgartner hit .280 with 9 homers his second year and fell to .244 in 1952. From 1953 to 1955, he endured nine location (re)assignments. He was with three different teams in 1953, hitting .261, suited up with the Little Rock Travelers and Buffalo Bisons in 1954 and hit .265 and finished his pro baseball career in 1955 with three clubs, hitting .214. John's minor league numbers showed a career .263 average and 42 home runs in 657 games. He also had a brief stint on the mound, appearing in one game in 1952 with no decision and in 1955, his last year, he put together a 2-6 record with a 5.02 ERA for the Terre Haute Tigers.

Baumgartner left baseball after 1955 and returned to his native Birmingham. He was in sales for the Buxton Company, the maker of billfolds and purses. John then became a vice president for the Tractor Trailor Company in charge of repairs, before retiring in 1993 to his 60-acre farm in Hayden, Alabama.


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