Granny Hamner

Granville Wilbur "Granny" Hamner (April 26, 1927 – September 12, 1993) was an American professional baseball shortstop and second baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB). Hamner was one of the key players on the "Whiz Kids", the 1950 National League (NL) champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Granny Hamner
Shortstop / Second baseman
Born: (1927-04-26)April 26, 1927
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Died: September 12, 1993(1993-09-12) (aged 66)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 14, 1944, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
August 1, 1962, for the Kansas City Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.262
Home runs104
Runs batted in708
Career highlights and awards


Hamner was born in Richmond, Virginia and graduated from Benedictine High School. His brother Garvin was also an infielder in the big leagues. "Granny" spent 15+12 years with the Phillies, having come to the club as a 17-year-old during World War II. In 1945, still seventeen, he became the youngest player ever to start an Opening Day game, a record that still stands as of 2022.[1] By the Phillies' 1950 NL pennant season, he was one of the team leaders, age 23. A right-handed hitting shortstop with moderate power, Hamner compiled more than 80 runs batted in (RBI) four times.

In the 1950 World Series, a four-game New York Yankees sweep dominated by Yankee pitchers, Hamner batted .429 (6 for 14) with three extra-base hits. In March 1952, manager Eddie Sawyer named Hamner team captain of the Phillies.[2]

An All-Star three years in a row, Hamner was the National League's starting shortstop in the 1952 All-Star Game, played on his home field, Shibe Park, in Philadelphia. The game was called off after five innings due to rain.

On May 16, 1959, Hamner was traded to the Cleveland Indians, but he batted only .164 for the remainder of the campaign. Hamner then became a Kansas City AthleticsMinor League Baseball (MiLB), manager, reappearing briefly with the A's as a pitcher during the 1962 season. (He had begun dabbling on the mound for the 1956-57 Phillies).[3] But the change did not prolong Hamner's playing career. He briefly managed in the Phils' farm system in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 17 major league seasons, Hamner compiled a .262 batting average with 104 home runs. As a pitcher, he was winless with two losses, with an earned run average (ERA) of 5.40, in seven games, and 13+13 innings pitched.[4]

Later life

In 1980, Hamner was one of several drivers who were able to stop their vehicles on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida before reaching the gap in the roadway caused by the collapse of a span after the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with the bridge.[5]

In 1981, Hamner was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

On September 12, 1993, Hamner died of a heart attack at age 66 in Philadelphia.[6]


  1. Sarah Langs (2019). "Youngest Players to Start on Opening Day". MLB. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  2. "Hamner is Given Authority as Team Captain of Phillies". Milwaukee Journal. March 18, 1952. p. 2.
  3. Preston, JG (2 November 2009). "Major league players who converted to pitching after becoming minor league managers". Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  4. "Granny Hamner Stats". Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  5. Conlin, Bill (15 September 1993). "A Date with Fate Hamner Once Survived Collapse of Bridge over Troubled Waters". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  6. "Granny Hamner's New York Times Obituary". The Deadball Era. September 14, 1993. Retrieved April 2, 2020.

Further reading

DeLuca, Duke (1972-04-18). "Off the Cuff". Reading Eagle. p. 30.
Kaplan, Mathew (2018-04-08). "Granny Hamner: More Than Baseball".

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