Jack Graney

January 29, 2012

As you likely saw with the news of Gaylord Perry’s induction into the Indians Hall of Fame, Jack Graney and Jim Warfield will also be inducted into the non-player portion of the HOF.  Out of the 43 people that have been honored by the Indians over the years, only 3 of those were honored for their feats off of the field: former owners Bill Veeck and Dick Jacobs, and scout Cy Slapnicka (the man that signed Bob Feller many years ago).  So Warfield and Graney join excellent company later this year.  Warfield, an athletic trainer, worked for the team in some capacity from 1965-2002, and served as head trainer from 1971-1996.  Graney had a fascinating career that included a stint playing for the Indians from 1910-1922, a time frame that included the team’s 1920 World Series winning squad.  He was the first batter to ever face Babe Ruth as a pitcher, and the first Indian to wear a number on his uniform.  A left fielder, Graney’s career numbers were .250/.354/.342.

What John Gladstone “Jack” Graney is best known for (and the reason for his induction) was his work as the play-by-play radio announcer for the team from 1933-1953; the first former player to enter the booth.  Broadcasting games with Jimmy Dudley, Graney has been described as such: “Possessing a crisp, stirring delivery, Graney was a master at setting a scene and his enthusiasm packed a sense of built-in drama. His ability to re-create a game from just a telegraphic report has never been paralleled.”  Dudley said that he was one of the best announcers of all time; a feat that many older Clevelanders would likely agree with.  He’s been inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame (he hails from St. Thomas, Ontario), but has yet to be enshrined in Cooperstown (despite the fact that he continues to make the ballot for announcers).

Even though many younger Indians fans aren’t familiar with the name Jack Graney, he is still being honored and recognized even today.  He and his dog Larry are the subject of a new book by Barbara Gregorich.  Our local SABR chapter (Society for American Baseball Research) is named in honor of Graney.

Speaking of our local SABR chapter, yesterday was national “SABR Day” where all of the organization’s members meet to talk baseball.  Our local Cleveland chapter decided instead to meet next week instead, on Saturday, February 4 (we have members that like to travel to other meetings around the region).  Non-members are more than welcome to join us; we meet in the basement media room of Progressive Field.  The cost of attending is just $3 (and gets you free pop and snacks) and there will be a number of cool presentations and guests.  I’m the president of the group, so I’ll obviously be there as well.

Our current lineup:

Eric Thompson: “The National League’s First Expansion Draft:  Did the Colt .45s and the Mets Have a Fair Chance?”

Bob Sproule: “The First Time”

Thomas Woodman: Project on the original 15 concrete and steel baseball parks built from 1895-1923.

Joe Werner and Justice Hill: “An analysis of how the Indians will finish, record wise, in the upcoming season.”

Terry Pluto: Discussing new book on Joe Tait

(We may also have an additional special guest as well.)

The meeting runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a break for lunch.  If you’re interested in going, you don’t have to stay for the entire day.  We’re to enter the building through the door in the player parking lot (the fenced in area at the corner of Carnegie Ave. and E. 9th).  If you want to spend a cold winter day hanging out at Progressive Field talking baseball, please make plans to join us on Saturday!  (Even if you’re not able to make it, I plan to recap the meeting and what the guests/presenters have to say).


  • TJ says:

    Your mention of Jack Graney brings back warm and youthful memories to this now-72 Floridian. Brought up in Shaker Heights, my Dad and I would sit in the back porch many many many nights listening to Jimmy Dudley and Jack Graney. I still think they were the best announcing team ever (although Vin Scully alone is really the best announcing team ever). Later my Dad introduced me to bridge on the back porch listening to the Dudley/Graney Tribe games with the summer sound of crickets. Often we would invite close neighborhood friends over for bridge and Tribe games on radio. I wish I could hear one more time Dudley’s closing tag line: “Lotsa good luck, ya hear.”

  • Roger Shuy says:

    I too have fond memories of sitting around our family console radio (the size of a small chest of drawers) listening to Jack Graney’s recreations of away games every summer of my childhood in Akron. My father and I would listen together while he taught me how to keep score, using his his own method (for example, SO for strikeout, not K). We did this together all through my elementary and high school days, from 1936 to 1948. I moved away from Akron after high school and lived in Illinois, Michigan, and Washington DC until I retired from teaching at Georgetown and moved to Missoula, Montana, where I still follow my beloved Indians as best I can. But the really great days were the times when Jack Graney made me a true baseball fan, for which I am forever grateful.

  • TJ says:

    To Roger Shuy: Nice to read your comment above. You sound nearly a decade older but we both date back to roughly the same period. My one and only World Series game was the fifth one in 1948 (Feller lost). I too ended up in college teaching, in my case at U. Maryland. I retired to Sarasota where, like you, I try to follow my beloved Indians too. That is one reason I enjoy Stephanie’s blog so much. I’ll be sure to follow your comments here during the season. We both remember Jack Graney’s voice. How wonderful…

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