|Outfielder / Pitcher|
August 30, 1916|
|Died: August 27, 1985
Newport Beach, California
|April 18, 1941, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 9, 1954, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||404|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Harlan Lindell (August 30, 1916 in Greeley, Colorado – August 27, 1985 in Newport Beach, California) was an American professional baseball player. He played as an outfielder and pitcher in the Major League Baseball from 1941 to 1950 and from 1953 to 1954. Lindell played for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lindell attended Monrovia High School in Monrovia, California, where he starred in football and track as well as in baseball. At the 1935 Southern California Prep Championships, he won the 120 yard High Hurdles and placed third in the long jump. Lindell won a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California.
Lindell began his professional baseball career in 1936 at the age of 19 when he was signed by the New York Yankees organization. He progressed through the Yankees' minor league system as a pitcher. While playing for the Kansas City Blues in 1940, he led the American Association with 18 victories. Lindell made his major league debut at the age of 24 with the Yankees on April 18, 1941 before being returned to the minor leagues where, he won 23 games against 4 defeats to help the Newark Bears win the International League championship. In December 1941, he was selected as the Minor League Player of the Year.
Lindell returned to the major leagues in 1942 as a relief pitcher but, Yankees manager Joe McCarthy thought that his low strikeout totals indicated that his fast ball had lost its velocity. During spring training in 1943, McCarthy experimented with using Lindell as a first baseman and as an outfielder. He hit well enough to win the starting right fielder's position and, had a batting average above the .300 mark in early June to earn a place as a reserve player for the American League team in the 1943 All-Star Game. In the second half of the season, his hitting tapered off and he was replaced in the starting lineup by Bud Metheny. Lindell ended the season leading the league with 12 triples along with a .245 batting average in 122 games as the Yankees won the American League pennant by 13½ games over the Washington Senators.
Lindell played a pivotal role in Game 3 of the 1943 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the series tied at one game apiece and the Yankees trailing by a score of 2 to 1, Lindell hit a single to lead off the eighth inning and, reached second base when center fielder Harry Walker mishandled the ball. When Snuffy Stirnweiss hit a bunt to first baseman Ray Sanders, Lindell attempted to advance to third base. Sanders' throw reached third baseman Whitey Kurowski in time as Lindell made a head-first slide. His head bounced up into Kurowki's head forcing the third baseman to drop the ball. The Yankees then proceeded to score five runs to win the game 6 to 2. The play at third base was considered a turning point in the series as the Yankees went on to win the next two games and won the world championship.
Lindell had his most productive season in 1944 when he led the league in triples, extra base hits, total bases, and had a .300 batting average with 18 home runs and 103 runs batted in. Also in 1944, Lindell tied a major league record by hitting four doubles in a game, and he recorded 468 putouts, the tenth best season total for an outfielder during the years he played. Lindell was drafted into the United States Army in June 1945 and only appeared in 44 games that season. He was discharged from the Army in March 1946.
With outfielders Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich and Charlie Keller returning to the Yankees from military service after the Second World War, Lindell slipped into the role of a utility player. An injury to Keller in 1947 gave him another chance to play regularly and in the 1947 World Series, Lindell had a .500 batting average, leading the team with 7 runs batted in, as the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in a seven-game series. In 1948, he posted a .317 batting average with 13 home runs, 55 runs batted in and a career-high .387 on-base percentage while appearing in 88 games.
During spring training in 1949, Lindell developed a knuckleball and new Yankees manager Casey Stengel experimented with using him as a relief pitcher. On October 1, 1949, during a late-season pennant race, he hit an eighth-inning, game-winning, home run against the Boston Red Sox, putting the Yankees into a tie their Boston arch-rivals with one game left to play. The Yankees went on to win the final game to clinch the American League pennant then defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1949 World Series.
In May 1950, Lindell's contract was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Yankees. After posting just a .186 batting average in 36 games for the Cardinals, he was sold to the Cardinals' minor league affiliate, the Columbus Red Birds who then traded him to the Hollywood Stars of the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. The Stars' manager, Fred Haney, converted Lindell into a knuckleball pitcher and, in 1952, he won 24 games against 9 losses to help the Stars win the Pacific Coast League pennant. He led the league in victories and strikeouts and, was voted the league's Most Valuable Player. His knuckleball proved to be unpredictable as he also led the league in bases on balls.
Lindell returned to the major leagues in 1953 at the age of 36 as a knuckleball pitcher, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in August 1953. His knuckleball proved to be difficult to control in 1953, as he led the league in bases on balls and wild pitches. Although listed as a pitcher with the Pirates, he batted .286 and was used 34 times as a pinch-hitter, once tying a game with a 3-run ninth-inning home run. Lindell played his last major league game on May 9, 1954 at age 37. The Phillies released him in May 1954.
In a twelve-year major league career, Lindell played in 854 games with 762 hits in 2,795 at bats for a .273 batting average along with 72 home runs, 404 runs batted in and a .344 on-base percentage. As a pitcher, he compiled an 8–18 record with a 4.47 earned run average. He led American League outfielders in 1943 with a .994 fielding percentage.
- "Johnny Lindell". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Arcadia Boy Named Student Body President at High". The Arcadia Tribune. 1 February 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Lindell Wins More Honors". The Arcadia Tribune. 24 May 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Johnny Lindell minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Bird Hurler Cops Honors". Youngstown Vindicator. Associated Press. 30 November 1940. p. 6. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1941 International League Pitching Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Two Playoff Games Billed Today". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. Associated Press. 9 September 1941. p. 10. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Top Men In Major Leagues Selected In News Rating". Painesville Telegraph. 31 December 1941. p. 8. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Yanks Try To Convert Lindell Into Infielder". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. 19 March 1943. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Metheny Succeeds With New York Yankees". The Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. 22 July 1943. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1943 Johnny Lindell batting log". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1943 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1943 American League Team Statistics and Standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- "Lindell-Kurowski Crash Big Break In Series So Far". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. 8 October 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1943 World Series Game 3 box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1943 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1944 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- "1944 Season Review". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Red Sox And Reds Climbing Fast". The Calgary Herald. Associated Press. 8 June 1945. p. 17. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Cardinals Hand Yankees Fifth Straight Defeat". St. Petersburg Times. 24 March 1946. p. 21. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Johnny Lindell May Become Hurler Again". The Calgary Herald. Associated Press. 7 April 1949. p. 17. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1947 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Yanks, Sox Settle Title In New York". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. 29 September 1949. p. 8. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "October 1, 1949 Red Sox-Yankees box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1949 New York Yankees schedule and standings". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Stump, Al (October 1959). Stumbling Down the Stretch. Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1949 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- "Johnny Lindell Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Zimmerman, Paul (August 1951). Lindell Scores on Double. Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Watson, Emmett (August 1952). Lindell Finds Self Boxed In. Baseball Digest (Books.Google.com). Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Johnny Lindell Best Pitcher". The Bulletin. United Press International. 23 September 1952. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1953 National League Pitching Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "1948 American League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Former Yankee dies of cancer". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. 31 August 1985. p. 2. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Lindell Scores on Double, by Paul Zimmerman, Baseball Digest, August 1951
- Lindell Finds Self Boxed In, by Emmett Watson, Baseball Digest, August 1952