Being an avid baseball fan, I was ecstatic to learn that late 30s, early 40s Washington Senator outfielder Johnny ‘legs’ Welaj was an ex – Manvillian. I’m so embarrassed. How could i live the first 34 years of my life, being a baseball fan without realizing that Manville, N.J. had M.L.B. representation? Making his major league debut on May 2, 1939, Johnny played with the Senators for 3 seasons before being traded to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1943. In 793 total at bats he averaged a career 250 batting average, with a 298 On base percentage. Johnny ended his short 4 year Major League career in September of 1943.
John continued to play Minor League baseball until 1954, became a Minor League manager until taking a job as the Senators sales and promotional chief in 1957. Johnny stayed on board with the Senators through their expansion to Texas, where he was eventually promoted to Director of stadium operations & spring training director. He eventually retired in 1999. He stayed in Texas until his death in 2003.
Jonathan Eig remembers John (and the loyal Manville fans) in his book “Luckiest man: the life and death of Lou Gehrig”…
You can see Johnny’s complete stats HERE.