Sep 11, 2015

Former New York Giants World Champion Infielder & Girls Professional League Manager: Johnny Rawlings (1921-1922)

Johnny William Rawlings was born on August 17th, 1892 in Bloomfield Iowa. He would attend high school in Los Angeles & get into pro ball by the time he was 21.

The five foot eight inch tall, Rawlings was a fine defensive middle infielder. He would begin his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1914 then jump to the outlaw Federal League that same year. After two seasons with Kansas City he returned to the major leagues with the Boston Braves. He played four seasons in Boston, getting traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1920.

In 1921 he was hitting a career best .291 with the Phillies, before he was traded to the New York Giants on July 1st. He was brought in to fill a gap at second base, more than for his hitting on John McGraw's eventual World Championship team.

With the glove Rawlings, had his best season, leading the league in games (146) double plays turned (93) assists (495) put outs (342) & errors (32) posting a .963 fielding %. In 88 games he even hit .282 with one HR & 30 RBIs. The Giants went on to win the NL Pennant & face the AL New York team in the first ever subway series.

Post Season: In the World Series he was one of the Giants top hitters, gathering up ten hits (tied for second most) bating .333 with four RBIs & two runs scored.

In Game #3 he capped off a four run Giants 3rd inning, with a single off Jack Quinn scoring Ross Youngs to tie the game. In the 7th he drove in High Pockets Kelly & Irish Meusel as the Giants broke the game open, going on to win 13-5. He came back with a two hit day in Game #4, driving in another run in the 4-2 Giants win. The Giants won the series five games to three.

1921 World Series at the Polo Grounds
In 1922, Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch (the Fordham Flash) moved from third to second base, as Henie Groh was acquired from Cincinnati, to play third base. Rawlings played 88 games as a backup, hitting .282 with 13 doubles & 30 RBIs.

The Giants won the pennant again going 93-61, then went on to sweep the AL New York club in four games in the World Series. Rawlings did not play in the series.

Rawlings went on to play in Pittsburgh with the Pirates for four seasons, closing out his career. In 12 years he hit .250 with 928 hits, 14 HRs 122 doubles 28 triples & a .250 average with 92 stolen bases.

He played 709 games at second base (.968 fielding %) 280 games at short (.939 %) & 29 games in the outfield.

Retirement: Rawlings went on to manage eight years in the All American Girls Professional League with the Grand Rapids Chicks(1946-1950) Peoria Redwings (1951) & the Rockford Peaches (1953-1954). He led his teams to six playoffs & won a championship with Grand Rapids in 1947.


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