The embodiment of the old-time shortstop, Johnny Logan was a fiery chatterbox who got the most out of his modest tools. Not built like Eddie Mathews or fleet-of-foot like Luis Aparicio, Logan got by on grit, determination and plenty of leather. Yatcha turned over 100 double plays three years in a row and topped shortstops in fielding percentage from 1952 to 1954.
Logan came of age during WWII and joined the military after high school graduation. The war ended shortly after Yatcha joined the colors and after a year as a civilian, Logan signed with the Braves and reported to their minor league affiliate in Evansville. The Braves gave Johnny his first Major League trial in 1951. After a decent 1952 season which began at Triple-A, Logan was up to the Majors for good.
Logan scored 100 runs for the Braves in 1953 while leading the team with his flashy leather and dogged determination. That ’53 season kicked off a three-year string in which he participated in 100 or more double plays. The gritty shortstop posted an amazing .975 fielding percentage while his position peers averaged just .957. But Yatcha’s breakout year with the lumber didn’t come until 1955 (his first All-Star season) when he led the National League in doubles and topped his shortstop peers in batting average. Logan and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks were the only NL shortstops to slug over .410.
A true gamer in every sense of the word, Logan could do all the little things right. Although he had modest pop and could reach a dozen homers annually, he was exceptional at moving runners over when the need arose. In 1956, his 31 sacrifices led the league. That year Yatcha also led National League shortstops in doubles and posted his fourth straight year with 460 or more assists.
The Braves reached new heights in 1957 when Logan, with help from notables like Mathews, Hank Aaron and Red Schoendienst in the lineup and Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl in the rotation, carried them to a World Series title. In the World Series victory against the Yankees, Yatcha blasted a homerun. After the ’57 season, Johnny made his third All-Star appearance in ’58 and his fourth and final Mid-Season Classic in 1959. During the latter campaign, Logan finished second to Banks in batting average among NL shortstops and was one of just two senior circuit shortstops to walk more than he struck out.
After five consecutive years of double-digit homerun totals, Logan fell to seven dingers in 1960. With his production waning, the Braves shipped him off to the Pirates in 1961 for outfielder Gino Cimoli. Logan played two more years as a reserve infielder in Pittsburgh, backing up the likes of Dick Groat, Don Hoak and Hall of Famer Bil Mazeroski.
G 1,503/R 651/H 1,407/2B 216/3B 41/HR 93/RBI 547/SB 19/BB 451/SO 472/BA .268/SA .378/OBP .330