John Walker Lapp (September 10, 1884 in Frazer, Pennsylvania – February 6, 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a professional baseball player who played catcher in the major leagues from 1908 to 1916. He played for the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics.
Jack Lapp was a second or third string catcher for eight of his nine years in the big leagues (seven with Philadelphia and one with Chicago). He did catch 503 games in his career, so he wasn't exactly "riding the pines" for all those years.
In 1911, the Athletics' first string catcher was Ira Thomas with Paddy Livingston and Jack Lapp backing him up. Philadelphia played the New York Giants in the World Series (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1911ws.shtml), which went six games with the A's winning. Ira Thomas caught the first two games and was "slightly injured" in the 7th inning of game 2. Paddy Livingston, who had been a key figure during the regular season, was suffering from injuries to his legs, arms, and hands. He did not play in the Series.
Jack Lapp was called on to catch Game 3 (10/17/1911) which lasted 11 innings. He set the catcher record for a single game catching base stealers with five and he had fourteen putouts. Ira Thomas came on to catch Game 4, a nine-inning affair that had Thomas limping by the end. Lapp was called upon to catch Game 5 (10/25/1911), which lasted 10 innings. He "only" caught one base stealer and only had four putouts in that game. Thomas caught Game 6 for a Philadelphia series victory.
The next year (1912), Jack Lapp split catching with Ira Thomas and Ben Egan, but Lapp caught the majority of the games (83) and led all of the A.L. catchers in "range" and "throwing".
By Dean Hanley
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