Johnny Werhas

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Johnny Werhas
Third baseman
Born: (1938-02-07) February 7, 1938 (age 77)
Highland Park, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 14, 1964 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1967 for the California Angels
Career statistics
Batting average .173
Home runs 2
Runs scored 15

John Charles Werhas (born February 7, 1938 in Highland Park, Michigan) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman who is now a pastor for The Rock Community Church in Anaheim Hills, California.[1]

Werhas was an All-American third baseman for the University of Southern California Trojans baseball team. He also played forward for the Trojans basketball team, earning All-PCC honors and honorable-mention All-American recognition in 1959. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2007.[2]

Werhas was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1960, however, chose to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers instead. He batted .248 with 26 home runs and 127 runs batted in through three seasons in the minors before having a breakthrough 1963 season with the Spokane Indians. He edged out Ken McMullen for the starting third base job out of Spring training 1964.[3] After batting just .169 with eight RBIs through the first 33 games of the season, he was soon displaced by Jim Gilliam, who started the season playing second base. He enjoyed a career game shortly after losing his starting job on May 28, going three-for-four with a walk and run scored in a seventeen inning marathon with the Cincinnati Reds that ended in a 2-2 tie,[4] but was soon returned to Spokane, regardless. He batted .309 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs for Spokane.

He returned to the Dodgers when rosters expanded in September 1965, going hitless with one walk and a run scored in three pinch hit plate appearances. The only time Werhas took the field was at first base in the final game of the season.[5]

He earned a back-up job in 1967, but was dealt to the California Angels on May 10 for outfielder Len Gabrielson. On June 4, he hit his first major league home run off the Minnesota Twins' Jim Merritt.[6] His only other major league home run came later that month against the Cleveland Indians' Sam McDowell.[7]

Werhas' final major league at bat came with the Angels that season. He remained with the organization through 1970 before heading to Japan in 1971 to play for the Taiyo Whales. In the first trade between a Japanese and an American team, he was dealt to the San Diego Padres' Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Hawaii Islanders, for Clete Boyer.[8] He retired following the 1973 season.

Werhas and his wife, Kay, have two children. His daughter is married to former Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees pitcher Dan Naulty.


  1. ^ Tom Verducci (June 4, 2012). "To Cheat or Not to Cheat". Sports Illustrated. 
  2. ^ "Meet Pastor John". The Rock Community Church. 
  3. ^ "Hey, It's Spring; Dodgers in Drills". Spokane Daily Chronicle. January 14, 1964. 
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 2, Cincinnati Reds 2". May 28, 1964. 
  5. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 2, Milwaukee Braves 0". October 3, 1965. 
  6. ^ "Minnesota Twins 8, California Angels 7". June 4, 1967. 
  7. ^ "California Angels 7, Cleveland Indians 0". June 22, 1967. 
  8. ^ "Clete Boyer".