Johnny Wyrostek

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John Barney Wyrostek

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Biographical Information[edit]

Johnny Wyrostek was primarily a center fielder and right fielder who played in the majors from 1942 through 1954. He was born in Fairmont City, IL and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals out of high school. He batted left-handed, and threw right. After a brief stint in the Army, Wyrostek became an every-day player with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1946.

Wyrostek averaged 8 homers a year in his career, and had only one season in which he hit over 10. In 1948, with the Cincinnati Reds, he had a total of 17 home runs with another career-high, 76 RBIs, which he would tie later. His 7 stolen bases on the year was also a career-high tie.

With the Reds in 1950, he had a very solid season, hitting .285 with 8 homers and 76 RBIs. On September 4 of that year, Wyrostek drove in 8 of the Reds' 13 runs in a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Cardinals. The Reds won 5-4, and then 8-4.

By 1951, Johnny was an accomplished outfielder who averaged approximately a .266 batting average. But that year, his batting average skyrocketed to .311. While his power numbers went down (2 HR, 61 RBIs), his batting average was good for 6th in the National League and his 167 hits was 10th. He made his second and final All-Star team.

In an 11-season career played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Phillies and Reds, Wyrostek batted .271 with 58 home runs and 481 RBIs in 1,221 games. He had 525 runs scored with 33 stolen bases and a solid .349 on-base percentage. He had 1,149 hits with 209 doubles and 45 triples in his 4,240 at bats.

Wyrostek, who was a carpenter in the construction field, was in his fifth term as mayor of his hometown of Fairmont City, IL, when he died on December 12, 1986, at age 67 in St. Louis, MO.

Johnny Wyrostek, as of 2006, is the only player in Major League history with a last name that starts with "Wyr". There are currently no players in the minor leagues that have a chance of "threatening" this title any time soon, although many former minor leaguers had surnames that began with "Wyr": Dennis Wyrick, Joshua Wyrick, Patrick Wyrick, Chris Wyrick and Courtney Wyrick.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1950 & 1951)

Baseball Players of the 1950s

Further Reading[edit]