To frustrated hitters he was the Junk Man. Lopat turned his lack of a fastball into
an advantage, keeping hitters off stride with an assortment of slow breaking pitches
thrown with cunning and accuracy. Free-swinging teams like the Indians became easy
victims; Lopat was 40-12 lifetime against Cleveland.
After four seasons with the
White Sox, Lopat was traded to his hometown Yankees in February 1948, and manager
Casey Stengel pitched him between flamethrowers Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi, the
contrast making Lopat's slow stuff all the more unhittable. He averaged 16 wins a
year in the World Championship seasons of 1949-53, won a career-high 21 games in
1951, and led the AL in ERA (2.42) and winning percentage (.800, 16-4) in 1953. In
the 1951 WS, he pitched a pair of complete games, beating the Giants 3-1 in Game
Two and 13-1 in Game Five. When his playing days were over, Lopat remained in baseball
as a coach, manager, general manager, and scout.