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Two-time Phillies All-Star Lopata passes

Catcher played on 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids, holds several team records


Two-time All-Star catcher Stan Lopata, a member of the Phillies' 1950 Whiz Kids, died from heart complications Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He was 87.

A native of Detroit, Lopata graduated in 1943 from Southwestern High School, where he was known as "Babe," and entered the Army that fall. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving in Marseilles, France, during World War II.

The Phillies signed Lopata to a $20,000 bonus before the 1946 season and assigned him to Terre Haute. The following season, he hit .325 at Utica and was named the Eastern League's Most Valuable Player. After spending most of the 1958 season at Triple-A in Toronto, Lopata joined the Phils for 15 games in September.

Lopata remained with the Phillies through the 1958 season and then was traded to the Milwaukee Braves with Ted Kazanski and Johnny O'Brien for Gene Conley, Harry Hanebrink and Joe Koppe. He played a total of 32 games over two seasons in Milwaukee, then retired.

For his Phils career, Lopata hit .257 with 115 doubles, 25 triples, 116 home runs and 394 RBIs in 822 games. His biggest year was 1956, when he had 33 doubles, 32 homers, 95 RBIs and a .267 average. Lopata was selected to the National League All-Star team in '55 and '56.

Among Phillies catchers, Lopata holds the single-season record for most triples (seven) and home runs (32), both set in 1956.

With the 1950 pennant winners, Lopata batted .209 in 58 games. He was the backup to Andy Seminick during the early years of his career and later teamed with Smoky Burgess.

Lopata's passing leaves four others from the Whiz Kids: Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, Putsy Caballero and Jack Mayo. Said Miller: "Stan was one of my dearest friends -- great family. We were together as teenagers in American Legion Ball [Turnstead Post], and together 10 years later with the Phillies."

Lopata is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty. While with the Phils, they resided in Abington until 1986, when they moved to Mesa, Ariz. Last fall, they relocated to the Philadelphia area.

Lopata is survived by six children -- Anthony Lopata, Gregory Lopata, Joann Sarver, Mary Terese Lopata, Carol Chornock and Matthew Lopata -- plus 16 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Another son, Thomas, predeceased Lopata.

A calling will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. ET at the Donohue Funeral Home, 8401 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, Pa., on Wednesday. Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Bernadette of Lourdes Church, Turner Avenue, Drexel Hill, Pa. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations may be sent to the Felician Sisters, 36800 School Craft Road, Livonia, MI 48150-1172.  

Larry Shenk is the vice president of Alumni Relations for the Phillies.

Philadelphia Phillies