Mar 8, 2016

Former Italian / American New York Giant: Babe Barna (1941-1943)

Herbert Paul Barna was born on March 2nd, 1915 in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The six foot two left handed hitter, attended West Virginia University where he was a star athlete. There he set a school hitting record batting .485 eventually earning the nickname "Babe". 

Barna was a star player in the minor leagues leading the American Association in steals (29) in 1941, then in HRs in both 1944 (24) & 1945 (25) Later on he led AA in hitting later on in 1951 (.358).

Barna first debuted with the Philadelphia A's in 1937 appearing in just 19 games for legendary manager Connie Mack. He went 14-36 in 14 games that September for the seventh place A's. In 1938 he hit .300 at A ball & got back up to the A's club for nine brief games going 4-30. Barna spent the next three years in the minors, having his contract purchased by the New York Giants in 1941.

For the Giants he hit .336 at AAA Minneapolis stealing 29 bases (best in the league) with 24 HRs & 105 RBIs. He made his Giants debut on September 20th & hit a two run HR gathering up three hits in the 7-3 win over the Boston Braves. He would play in ten games that month batting .214 with one HR 5 RBIs.

In 1942 he had the best year of his career, playing in a career high 104 games as the New York left fielder. He hit .257 with 6 HRs 8 doubles 58 RBIs & a .333 on base %. His biggest stretch came from June 15th through June 26th when he hit three HRs, driving in three runs in each of those games he homered in. 

In those games he had 13 hits & drove in 13 runs, all at home in the Polo Grounds. In July he had two separate four RBI games where he also hit HRs. The next season he hit just .204 in 40 games with the Giants & then was traded to the Boston Red Sox finishing out the season batting .187.

Barna would spend the next decade in the minors finishing out a long 15 year minor league career batting .311 lifetime with 290 HRs & 1229 RBIs. At the major league level he hit .232 with 12 HRs & 96 RBIs in 207 games played over five seasons. Barna passed away in 1972 at age 56 in Charleston, West Virginia.

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