July 9 – Happy Birthday Jimmy Ludtka

Jimmy Ludtka shown during his Rugmaker days and at the time of his death in 2008
Jimmy Ludtka shown during his Rugmaker days and at the time of his death in 2008

Back in the 1950’s and ’60’s, long before the days of Cal Ripken and Derek Jeter, Major League shortstops were not expected to hit but they had to have great range in the field, strong arms and a vacuum cleaner for a glove. When the Yankees signed Jimmy Ludtka in 1950, it was said the 18-year-old Buffalo native had all three. That’s why Amsterdam baseball fans were excited to hear that today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant was headed to the Rugmakers for his first stop on what was hoped would be a quick climb to the big leagues, maybe even as Phil Rizzuto’s successor as Yankee shortstop some day.

Unfortunately, Ludtka reported…

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam Rugmaker in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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