Johnny Lanning

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John Young Lanning (Tobacco Chewin' Johnny)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Johnny Lanning pitched 19 seasons, two in college at North Carolina State University (1931-1932), 11 in the Major Leagues (1936-1947) and six in the minors, losing 1944 and all but one game of 1945 to the Military. He first pitched for North Carolina State University in 1931 & 1932. He served in the United States Army for two years during World War II (1944-1945) (N&C). He entered the Army 22 June 1943 and was discharged 27 August 1945. He played for the Boston Bees (1936-1939), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1940-1946) and the Boston Braves (1947). He married Josephine Messer 2 October 1935. His hobbies included hunting, fishing and raising shrubbery. His brother Tom Lanning pitched three games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1938.

Lanning gained attention in his first MLB year when he defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and New York Giants in succession in September 1936, when the three teams were fighting for the pennant. Although a consistent pitcher for eleven MLB seasons, he never met the expectations he raised as a rookie. His brother Tom pitched three games for the Phillies in 1938.(ME) Later in his life, he coached the Marion Marauders Minor League team for the 1949 season. He died at a hospital in his hometown, Asheville, NC, at age 79 and he is buried there at Tweed's Chapel Cemetery.


Principal sources for Johnny Lanning include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs {{{WW}}} (WW), old Baseball Registers {{{BR}}} (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN {{{DAG}}} (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) {{{MORE}}} and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

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