September 6, 1911|
Los Angeles, California
|Died: November 29, 2004
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|July 30, 1933 for the New York Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 25, 1942 for the New York Giants|
|Runs batted in||397|
|Career highlights and awards|
Harry Danning (September 6, 1911 – November 29, 2004), nicknamed "Harry the Horse", was a professional baseball player. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the New York Giants, and was considered to be both a good hitter and one of the top defensive catchers of his era. He batted and threw right-handed and was a member of the National League all-star team in 1938, 1939, 1940, and 1941. Danning, who was Jewish, was nicknamed "Harry The Horse" for Damon Runyon's Broadway character. He attended Los Angeles High School in Los Angeles. His brother, Ike Danning, played for the St. Louis Browns in 1928.
Danning first played with the New York Giants in 1933. From 1934 to 1936, he served as the Giants reserve catcher, working behind Gus Mancuso. In the 1937 season, Danning and Mancuso shared the catching duties with Danning appearing in 93 games, while Mancuso appeared in 86 games. In 1938 Danning took over the role as the Giants starting catcher. He was selected for the National League All-Star squad in four consecutive years (1938–41), played for the Giants team which defeated the Washington Senators in the 1933 World Series championship, and appeared in the pennant-winning clubs that were defeated by the New York Yankees in the 1936 and 1937 World Series.
In 1934 during spring training a Florida hotel refused entry to Danning and fellow Jew Phil Weintraub. "Hibiscus" was a code word for Hebrew in Florida — as in "we don’t have hibiscus in our hotel." Giants manager and All-Star first baseman Bill Terry threatened to take the entire World Champion team to another hotel unless his Jewish players were given lodging. The hotel's management backed down.
From 1938 through 1940 Danning hit .306, .313, and .300, and finished in the top 10 in National League MVP voting in 1939 (9th) and 1940 (7th). He collected career highs in home runs (16) in 1939, and in RBIs (91) in 1940. He led all National League catchers with a .991 fielding average in 1939.
On June 9, 1939 against the Cincinnati Reds at the Polo Grounds Danning was one of five Giants players to hit a home run in the fourth inning, as the Giants broke the previous record of four home runs by a team in one inning. Remarkably, all five of the home runs hit by the Giants came after two outs had been recorded in the inning. Then, on June 15, 1940, he hit for the cycle in a game against Pittsburgh. His home run came on an inside-the-park home run that landed 460 feet (140 m) on the fly in front of the Giants' clubhouse, wedged behind the Eddie Grant memorial. No player since then has hit an inside-the-park home run as a component of hitting for the cycle.
In addition to batting .300 or higher in three consecutive seasons, Danning had a .285 career batting average, tying him with Yogi Berra for the 18th highest lifetime batting average among major league baseball catchers who are "Hall of Fame eligible". He hit 57 home runs in his career and 397 RBIs in 890 games. He had a career fielding percentage of .985. Danning led National League catchers three times in putouts, and twice in assists and baserunners caught stealing, and ranks 36th among catchers of all time with a career caught-stealing percentage of 48%. He caught the screwballer Carl Hubbell, and also was a teammate of Mel Ott, Bill Terry and Travis Jackson, four Hall of Famers.
Danning retired from baseball after serving in the military, working later as a minor league coach. He received one vote in Hall of Fame Voting in both 1958 and 1960. Danning died in Valparaiso, Indiana, at the age of 93. His obituary and photograph appeared in the December 13, 2004 edition of Sports Illustrated Magazine.
- The BBWAA in TSN poll names the 1940 All Star team: Frank McCormick, 1B – Joe Gordon, 2B – Luke Appling, SS – Stan Hack, 3B – Harry Danning, C – Bob Feller, Bucky Walters, Paul Derringer, pitchers (January 8, 1941)
- "Harry Danning at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- ''Harry Danning: Catching Star of Another Era'', by Rick Van Blair, Baseball Digest, October 1994, Vol. 53, No. 10, ISSN 0005-609X. Books.google.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Harry Danning Obituary at The New York Times
- "1937 New York Giants at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "1938 New York Giants at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "www.jewishpress.com". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- www.thejewishweek.com[dead link]
- "1939 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "1940 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- Baseball Digest, July 2001, P.86, Vol. 60, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X. Books.google.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "Home Runs in a Game by a Team Records at Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "Catchers Who Hit For The Cycle at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "Inside The Park Home Runs by Catchers at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers". tripod.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- "Career Batting Leaders through 2010". Career Leaders. Jewish Major Leaguers. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- Van Blair, Rick (1994). Dugout to Foxhole: Interviews with Baseball Players Whose Careers Were Affected by World War II. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Publishers.
- Baseball Library (profile)
- Baseball Reference stats
- Fangraphs stats
- BR Bullpen profile
- Baseball Cube profile
- Jews in Sports
- Harry Danning: Catching Star of Another Era, by Rick Van Blair, Baseball Digest, October 1994