Galan was an injury-prone outfielder who had a good career despite the mishaps. He was the first everyday major leaguer to play an entire season without hitting into a double play, as well as the first to homer from both sides of the plate in the same contest (6/25/37). Having shattered his right elbow playing ball as a child, Galan had a deformed arm. He broke into the majors as a Cub infielder in 1934, and was a star outfielder by the following year, batting .314 and leading the league with 133 runs and 22 stolen bases to help Chicago to the pennant. In 646 at-bats, he did not hit into a single double play, although he did hit into a triple play. In 1936 Galan became the first Cub to homer in the All-Star Game.
After batting .304 for the Cubs in 1939, he broke his right knee in 1940. The Cubs gave up on Galan and his injuries, dealing him to the Dodgers in 1941. Two years later, he was back in the starting lineup, hitting over .300 each season from 1944 through 1947 before the years caught up with him. From 1945 on, he batted exclusively lefthanded.