Johnny Broaca

Johnny Broaca
Born: (1909-10-03)October 3, 1909
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Died: May 16, 1985(1985-05-16) (aged 75)
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 2, 1934, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1939, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win-Loss 44-29
Earned run average 4.08
Strikeouts 258
Career highlights and awards

John Joseph Broaca (October 3, 1909 – May 16, 1985) was an American professional baseball pitcher from 1934 to 1939. Broaca won at least 12 games for the New York Yankees his first three seasons. However, in 1937, Broaca took a leave of absence for no apparent reason and only pitched in 7 games. He did not pitch at all in 1938, and in 1939 he played briefly with the Cleveland Indians. His lifetime record as a pitcher for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians was 44–29.


Broaca was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and was of Lithuanian descent.[1] He attended Lawrence High School, but transferred to and graduated from Phillips Academy after two years. He continued his education at Yale University. While at Yale, he was a tri-sport athlete, competing in baseball, boxing, and track.

In his rookie season with the New York Yankees in 1934, Broaca went 12–9 as a starter with an earned run average of 4.16. In 1935, he had his most successful statistical season, where he went 15–7 with an ERA of 3.58. In 1936, the year the Yankees won the World Series, Broaca was 12–7 with an ERA of 4.24.

In 1937, after starting the season with a disappointing 1–4 record, Broaca abruptly left the team with his wife eight months pregnant—becoming the first player to jump the team in at least a quarter-century. He was only heard from again in September, when his wife filed for divorce on grounds of severe abuse at his hands.[2] The Yankees were so outraged by what emerged in the trial that they voted Broaca's wife a $1,000 World Series share. His hiatus from baseball extended into the entire 1938 season. It was rumored at the time that Broaca's wife was involved in affairs with a number of his Yankees teammates.

Broaca had a brief stint as a professional boxer, but failed to win a single bout. The Yankees were willing to bring him back in 1938, but reneged on his demand to cover his medical expenses.[2] In 1939, the Yankees traded his rights to the Cleveland Indians. He was used primarily as a reliever, and he appeared in 22 games with a 4-2 record. However, by this time it was apparent his arm was giving out; he'd had arm trouble since at least his collegiate days.[1] After the season, he was traded to the New York Giants.[2] However, by this time it was obvious he was finished. The Giants traded him back to the Indians in June, and the Indians promptly released him.

After working on the home front in World War II, Broaca spent most of the rest of his life as a common laborer on road construction crews. His coworkers learned early on never to ask him about baseball. He died in 1985, having not spoken to his son in almost half a century even though he lived only 25 miles away.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 Burt, Bill. The tragic story of Johnny Broaca. The Eagle-Tribune, 2010-05-26.
  2. 1 2 3 Appel, Marty (2014). Pinstripe Empire. New York City: Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 9781608194926.

External links

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