Known affectionately as "Harry the Horse" after a Damon Runyon short story, the stalwart catcher of the New York Giants hit .300 or better for three consecutive years 1938-1940, while catching at least 120 games each season. Harry was a four-time All-Star (1938-1941) whose older brother, Ike Danning, played two games in the majors in 1928.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. September 6, 1911 - d. November 30, 2004
Danning broke into the majors in 1933 with the New York Giants and served as a back-up his first four seasons, hitting .330 in 1934. In 1936, he played for the Giants in the World Series, appearing in two games and going 0-2; the Giants lost to the New York Yankees in six games. The following year, Danning took over as the regular catcher and helped the Giants return to the World Series. In the fourth game of the Series, Harry went 3-4 in the Giants' only win -- they again lost to the Yankees, this time in five games.
1938 proved to be a turning point for Danning, as he became one of the best players in the league. He was an All-Star for the next four seasons, and hit over .300 for the next three (306, .313 and .300, respectively). In 1939, Danning finished among the league leaders in batting (.313 - 9th), total bases (249 - 9th), and home runs (16 - 9th); and finished 9th in the voting for MVP. In 1940, Harry continued his brilliance with a .300 average and 34 doubles (7th in the league), and 91 RBI (9th) while again finishing in the top ten in the voting for MVP (7th). That season, Harry also hit for the cycle against the Pittsburgh Pirates, including an inside-the-park home run that landed in front of the Giants' clubhouse, wedged behind the Eddie Grant memorial.
Danning played the next two seasons with injuries; and though he was again an All-Star in 1941, his hitting suffered. After he retired in 1942, he was drafted into the Army during World War II. Harry was issued a silver lifetime pass by baseball, and although he did not attend many games, he remained connected with the game through the great number of letters he received from fans until he passed away in 2004 at the age of 93. He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the New York Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Danning played with the New York Giants, 1933-1942.
Catcher. He did play first base once.
6'1", 190 pounds
Batting Avg.: .285
Slugging Avg.: .415
Home Runs: 57
Home Run %: 1.9
Strike Outs: 216
Stolen Bases: 13
Total Chances per Game: 4.7
Fielding Avg: .985
Use links below to navigate through the baseball section of Jews In Sports.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER IMAGES
Also, read a chapter from Jewish Baseball Stars by Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)