Sunday, June 8, 2014

In Memoriam: John "Jack" Dittmer

"The people adored us, and we couldn't do anything wrong. Businesses gave us cases of Miller, bought us gas and did our dry cleaning. They treated us like kings."~ Jack Dittmer, from William Povletich's 'Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak'

Former Boston/Milwaukee Brave second baseman Jack Dittmer passed away on May 31, 2014 in Strawberry Point, Iowa at the age of 86.

Mr. Dittmer had been a fan favorite upon the team's move to Milwaukee. He and shortstop Johnny Logan had played together in the minors together, for the Milwaukee Brewers, and their blue-collar work ethics were appreciated by the local fans who remembered them from their time in the minors.

Prior to signing with the Braves, Dittmer was an All-Conference and AP All-Big Ten football player for the University of Iowa- where he was the school's first nine letterman in eight years. During his junior year, the tight end was voted team MVP and received a letter from the Chicago Bears, expressing their interest in the Elkader, Iowa native. The next season, Jack set a Big Ten season record for receiving yards with 333; he also received offers from twelve of the major league baseball clubs during that senior season. He signed with the Boston Braves in 1950 for a $6,000 bonus.

Dittmer's major league career began with Boston in 1952 and ended in Detroit in 1957. His retirement from baseball came in 1959 and worked for his father at the Dittmer Motor Co., where he took over following his fathers death in 1962. And though he would sell the business in 1985, Jack continued working there until his retirement in 2009.

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