Hall of Fame Inductees, Alphabetically by Last Name Johnny Hopp – Hastings

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Athlete.  A 1934 graduate of Hastings High School, this legendary professional baseball player began his climb to the majors on the playgrounds of Adams County, Nebraska. He was such a standout in baseball (and motivated to be better) that his talents in other sports were not adequately documented. Signing a pro baseball contract at age 19, Hopp started with the St. Louis Cardinals, played fourteen years in the major leagues and had a lifetime batting average of .296. Known as a great clutch player, his best year was 1950 when he batted .339. He played on four World Series championship teams.

John (Cotney) Hopp was a vibrant player with an enthusiasm for the game that when combined with his talent propelled him into the graces of major league coaches. Born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska, Johnny was the leader of many sandlot baseball games as a kid. At age 19, he was signed by a Yankee farm team in Norfolk, NE John tells the story of his debut in which his excitement and awe of his new adventure caught him off gaurd. Having struck out three times his first game, his farther in a visit with the manager said, “well I guess we’ll have to take the kid home.” The manager put his mind at ease telling him, “John has a good swing and good speed,” and assured Mr. Hopp that with a little batting practice Johnny would be okay and that he was!

Although the Norfolk team didn’t win the league, Johnny’s performance was good enough to give him a chance at AAA ball the next year. The jump from the Nebraska State League to AAA was the biggest challenge according to Johnny in a February 2000 interview.

In 1939 Hopp was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1941 he was voted the Most Popular Player in the League.

In 1942 he won his first World Series, defeating the Yankees for the title. 1943 saw the Cards and the Yankees meeting again, but this time the Yanks won by the same margin the were defeated by the year before, 4 games to 1. In 1944 two St. Louis teams met in the series and again Johnny picked up another ring defeating the Browns 4 games to 2.

Near the end of the 1950 season Hopp was traded to the Yankees and his first at bat, Hopp ripped a 3 run homer. Upon reaching the dugout, Jolt’n Joe DiMaggio turned to him and said, “nice start kid.”

That year with the Yankees Hopp won his third World Series ring and his fourth the following year.

His career ended abruptly when he blew a hamstring while playing for the Detroit Tigers, an injury he would not recover from.

John finished his career coaching before returning to work in Hastings. John was an avid hunter and recalled many a pheasant hunting trip into the hills of Cotesfield, north of St. Paul, NE

 

Year Club League Pos G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB Avg

1936Norfolk NebSt OF 107 446 134 161 24 16 26 79 36 .361

1937 Rochester I.L. OF 141 527 87 162 28 14 9 69 33 .307
1938 Rochester T.L. OF 124 371 73 111 21 10 9 48 16 .299
1939 Houston N.L. 1B 133 497 76 155 28 15 3 59 25 .312

1939 St. Louis N.L. PH-1B 6 4 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 .500
1940 St. Louis N.L. Ph-1B 80 152 24 41 7 4 1 14 3 .270
1941 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 134 445 83 135 25 11 4 50 15 .303
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 95 314 41 81 16 7 3 37 14 .258
1943 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 91 241 33 54 10 2 2 25 0 .224
1944 St. Louis N.L. 1B 139 527 106 177 35 9 11 72 15 .336
1945 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 124 446 68 129 22 8 3 44 14 .289
1946 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 129 445 71 148 23 8 3 48 21 .333
1947 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 134 430 74 124 20 2 2 32 13 .288
1948 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 120 392 64 109 15 12 1 31 5 .278
1949 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 20 55 0 12 3 1 0 3 0 .218
Brooklyn N.L. 1B-OF 8 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 85 316 50 106 11 4 5 36 9 .393
1950 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 106 318 51 108 24 5 8 47 7 .340
New York A.L. 1B-OF 19 27 9 9 2 1 1 8 0 .333
1951 New York A.L 1B 46 63 10 13 1 0 2 4 2 .317
1952 New York A.L. OF-1B 15 25 4 4 0 0 0 2 0 .160
Detroit A.L. OF-1B 42 46 5 10 1 0 0 3 0 .214
Totals     1898 6101 1064 1854 317 129 92 713 228 .296
World Series
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B 5 17 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 .176
1943 St. Louis N.L. OF 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1944 St. Louis N.L. OF 6 27 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 .185
1950 New York A.L. 1B 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .00
1951 New York A.L.   1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-
All- Star Game
1946 Boston N.L.