Jim Hegan

This superb defensive catcher spent more than a decade as a Cleveland regular, catching 20-game winners Feller, Lemon, Wynn, Garcia, Score, and Bearden. Although he hit 14 home runs in both 1948 and 1950, he never had a batting average higher than .249. But Cleveland fans never booed the likable Hegan, no matter how low his average dropped. As Bill Dickey commented, “When you can catch like Hegan, you don’t have to hit.” Lithe, quick, and graceful, the durable Hegan was artful on pop-ups and balls in the dirt and was respected by baserunners. He received much of the credit for Cleveland’s pitching success; fellow catcher Joe Tipton said, “Hitters who strike out against the Indians cuss Hegan.” Hegan caught no-hitters by Don Black (7/10/1947), Bob Lemon (6/30/1948), and Bob Feller (7/1/1951). His catching was a key to the Indians’ 1948 and 1954 pennants. When he retired in 1960, his 1,629 games caught was seventh on the all-time list. Mike Hegan is his son.