Johnny Grabowski
Born: (1900-01-07)January 7, 1900
Ware, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: May 23, 1946(1946-05-23) (aged 46)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 11, 1924, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 21, 1931, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.252
Home runs3
Runs batted in86
Career highlights and awards

John Patrick Grabowski (January 7, 1900 – May 23, 1946) was an American baseball player. He played professional baseball for 12 years from 1922 to 1933, including seven years as a catcher in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox (1924–1926), New York Yankees (1927–1929), and Detroit Tigers (1931). He was a member of the 1927 and 1928 New York Yankees teams that won consecutive World Series championships. Grabowski was one of a number of American athletes in the first half of the 20th century to be nicknamed "Nig", being referred to as such in newspaper reports as early as October 1924.[1]

Early years

Grabowski was born in Ware, Massachusetts, in 1900 to a family of Polish descent.[2]

Professional baseball

Grabowski began his professional baseball career in 1922 with the St. Joseph Saints, then spent 1923 and 1924 with the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.[3] He was traded to the Chicago White Sox in July 1924 and made his major league debut that month.[4] Grabowski played for the White Sox for three years, from 1924 to 1926, appearing in 89 games, 78 of them as a catcher.[2] One of the games Grabowski caught was Ted Lyons' no-hitter on August 21, 1926. [5]

In January 1927, the White Sox traded Grabowski to the New York Yankees.[6] He had his best season for the 1927 "Murderer's Row" New York Yankees, considered by some to be the best baseball team in history. Grabowski appeared in 70 games for the 1927 Yankees, sharing the catching duty with Pat Collins and Benny Bengough in 1927. Grabowski had a .350 on-base percentage for the 1927 Yankees. He remained with the Yankees through the 1929 season and won two World Series championships with the Yankees in 1927 and 1928.[2]

After spending 1930 with the St. Paul Saints, Grabowski returned to the major leagues in 1931 with the Detroit Tigers.[7] He appeared in 40 games with the Tigers, 39 as a catcher. He appeared in his last major league game in September 1931. In seven major league seasons, Grabowski appeared in 296 games, 282 as a catcher, and compiled a career .252 batting average and .295 on-base percentage.[2]

Grabowski concluded his playing career playing for the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1932 and 1933.[3]

Later years

After retiring as a player, Grabowski became an umpire in the Canadian–American League (1937), Eastern League (1938–1939), and International League (1940–1941). He suffered severe burns in 1946 after a fire at his home in Guilderland, New York. He died at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, New York, at age 46.[8]


  1. ^ "Joe Neidl Signed by All-Dorp Five for Court Labors". The Post-Star. Glens Falls, New York. October 10, 1924. p. 6. Retrieved May 9, 2021 – via
  2. ^ a b c d "Johnny Grabowski Major League Statistics". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Johnny Grabowski Minor League Statistics". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "Grabowski Is New White Sox Catcher, Secretary States". Arizona Republic. July 7, 1924. p. 8 – via open access
  5. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Chicago White Sox 6, Boston Red Sox 0".
  6. ^ "Yankees Trade Aaron Ward To White Sox". Pittsburgh Gazette Times. January 14, 1927. p. 11 – via Google News Archive.
  7. ^ Harry Bullion (March 1, 1931). "Johnny Grabowski Conspicuous By His Silence". Detroit Free Press. p. 25 – via open access
  8. ^ "Grabowski, Former Yankees Catcher, Dies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. May 23, 1946. p. 20 – via open access