This superb defensive catcher spent more than a decade as a Cleveland regular, catching
20-game winners Feller, Lemon, Wynn, Garcia, Score, and Bearden. Although he hit
14 home runs in both 1948 and 1950, he never had a batting average higher than .249.
But Cleveland fans never booed the likable Hegan, no matter how low his average dropped.
As Bill Dickey
commented, "When you can catch like Hegan, you don't have to hit."
Lithe, quick, and graceful, the durable Hegan was artful on pop-ups and balls in
the dirt and was respected by baserunners. He received much of the credit for Cleveland's
pitching success; fellow catcher Joe Tipton
said, "Hitters who strike out against
the Indians cuss Hegan." Hegan caught no-hitters by Don Black
(7/10/1947), Bob Lemon
(6/30/1948), and Bob Feller
(7/1/1951). His catching was a key to the Indians' 1948
and 1954 pennants. When he retired in 1960, his 1,629 games caught was seventh on
the all-time list. Mike Hegan
is his son.