Johnny Lipon

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John Joseph Lipon

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Biographical Information[edit]

Johnny Lipon was an infielder, primarily a shortstop, for 17 years (1941-1960), nine in the majors (1942-1954) and ten in the minors (1941-1960), losing three years and most of a fourth to military service.

Lipon was born on November 10, 1922, in Martins Ferry, OH. His family eventually moved to Detroit where he would graduate from high school. Scouted and signed by Wish Egan of the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1941, he was 19 years old when he broke into the big leagues with his hometown team on August 16, 1942, where he would play seven of his nine big league seasons.

He played for the Tigers in 1942, 1946 and from 1948 to 1952, where he had four very solid seasons. After being traded to the Boston Red Sox, he played there in 1952 and 1953, but his production quickly diminished and he finished his career with two very brief stops with the St. Louis Browns in 1953 and the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1954, playing his last game on April 25 th that year. He then spent the next five years playing in the minors before retiring as a player and turning to managing.

In 1941, Lipon led the Michigan State League with 176 hits and 35 HRs for the Muskegon Reds, and tied for the league lead with 115 RBI. He was named the league's all-star shortstop.

He served four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II (1943-1946) (N&C/GB/BR/BN). He married Bama Belle Jones on October 14, 1951 and his hobbies were hunting and fishing

As the Tigers' regular shortstop from 1948 to 1951, Lipon was more adequate than outstanding. Like many at his position, he was never known for his power, but he wasn't an exceptional fielder, either. His most productive season came in 1949 with the Tigers when he hit .293 with 2 home runs and 63 RBI in 601 at-bats. He hit .259 in his major league career with 10 home runs and 266 RBI. He had 28 stolen bases and scored 351 runs.

A baseball lifer, he became a highly respected minor league manager, often rumored to be in line for a major league job. His only opportunity came when he replaced Alvin Dark for the Cleveland Indians for the last 59 games of the 1971 season; the team went 18-41 and finished in last place. He was replaced by Ken Aspromonte the following year.

Lipon retired from managing minor league teams in 1992 after winning the Florida State League title. He compiled a record of 2,185-1,987 over 33 seasons (1959-1992) in the minor leagues. He was a minor league manager for the Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tigers. He was also a coach for the Indians from 1968 to 1971. He is fourth in Minor League Wins by a Manager.

He died at age 75 on August 17, 1998 in Houston, TX and is buried at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1950)

Preceded by
Alvin Dark
Cleveland Indians Manager
Succeeded by
Ken Aspromonte

Career Highlights[edit]

  • Led Michigan State League in Games (119), Runs (126), Hits (176), Total Bases (316), Home Runs (35) and RBI (115) in 1941
  • Led Michigan State League shortstops in Putouts (241), Assists (424), Errors (51) and Double Plays (70), 1941
  • Led Texas League shortstops in Assists (511), Double Plays (93) and Errors (43), 1947
  • Led American League shortstops in Assists (483), Errors (33) and Double Plays (126), 1950
  • Tied for lead in Errors by a shortstop in the American League, 1951 (33)
  • Led International League shortstops in Fileding Percentage, 1955 (.979)
  • Led International League third basemen in Fielding Percentage, 1957 (.991)
  • Tied MLB record for most Double Plays by a shortstop, game (5), 20 May 1950



Principal sources for Johnny Lipon include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs {{{WW}}} (WW), old Baseball Registers {{{BR}}} (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN {{{DAG}}} (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) {{{MORE}}} and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1959 Selma Cloverleafs Alabama-Florida League 73-46 2nd Cleveland Indians League Champs
1960 Lakeland Indians Florida State League 28-9 -- Cleveland Indians -- replaced by Charlie Gassaway (54-39) May 25
Mobile Bears Southern Association 61-51 5th Cleveland Indians none replaced Al Hollingsworth (18-11) May 26
1961 Toronto Maple Leafs International League 51-56 -- Cleveland Indians replaced by Tim Thompson (25-23) on August 4
1962 Charleston Indians Eastern League 67-73 5th Cleveland Indians
1963 Charleston Indians Eastern League 83-57 1st Cleveland Indians none League Champs
1964 Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League 90-68 3rd Cleveland Indians
1965 Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League 81-67 3rd Cleveland Indians Lost League Finals
1966 Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League 69-79 9th Cleveland Indians
1967 Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League 79-69 3rd Cleveland Indians
1971 Cleveland Indians American League 18-41 6th Cleveland Indians replaced Alvin Dark (42-61) on July 30
1972 Toledo Mud Hens International League 75-69 5th Detroit Tigers
1973 Toledo Mud Hens International League 41-57 -- Detroit Tigers replaced by Cot Deal (24-24)
1974 Salem Pirates Carolina League 87-50 1st Pittsburgh Pirates League Champs
1975 Salem Pirates Carolina League 74-66 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates none
1976 Shreveport Captains Texas League 70-66 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates Lost League Finals
1977 Shreveport Captains Texas League 23-16 -- Pittsburgh Pirates replaced by Tim Murtaugh (39-52)
Columbus Clippers International League 54-51 7th Pittsburgh Pirates replaced Tim Murtaugh (10-24)
1978 Columbus Clippers International League 61-78 7th Pittsburgh Pirates
1979 Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League 73-74 6th Pittsburgh Pirates
1980 Salem Pirates Carolina League 79-60 3rd Pittsburgh Pirates
1981 Buffalo Bisons Eastern League 56-81 7th Pittsburgh Pirates
1982 Alexandria Dukes Carolina League 80-54 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates League Champs
1983 Alexandria Dukes Carolina League 69-68 4th Pittsburgh Pirates
1984 Prince William Pirates Carolina League 75-65 2nd Pittsburgh Pirates
1985 Nashua Pirates Eastern League 66-73 6th Pittsburgh Pirates
1986 Gastonia Tigers South Atlantic League 59-80 7th (t) Detroit Tigers
1987 Fayetteville Generals South Atlantic League 65-74 9th Detroit Tigers
1988 Lakeland Tigers Florida State League 77-61 3rd Detroit Tigers Lost in 1st round
1989 Lakeland Tigers Florida State League 77-59 3rd Detroit Tigers Lost in 1st round
1990 Lakeland Tigers Florida State League 83-49 2nd Detroit Tigers Lost in 2nd round
1991 Lakeland Tigers Florida State League 72-56 4th Detroit Tigers Lost in 2nd round
1992 Lakeland Tigers Florida State League 70-62 9th Detroit Tigers League Champs

Related Sites[edit]