Friday , January 23, 2004 10:40:31 AM EST
John Louis Blatnik, 82, of Lansing, Ohio, died Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004 at his home. He was born March 10, 1921 at Bridgeport, Ohio, the son of the late Frank and Rose Strauss Blatnik.He retired as Deputy Director of Workers Compensation for the State of Ohio, but will mostly be remembered as a professional baseball great from the Ohio Valley. He played professional baseball from 1939 to 1947 except for four years when he served his country with the US Air Force during World War II. John played with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1949 and 1950 before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he was acquired to fill in for the injured, Stan Musial.
After his playing days were over, he continued to have a profound impact on the game he loved. As a result of his love of kids, he, with the former Mayor of Martins Ferry, John Laslo, co-founded the Colt and Pony Leagues. In 1998, John was honored with the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame's Man of the Year and was inducted into the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
In 1999, the Belmont County commissioners passed a resolution that gave Chermont Road the honorary name of Johnny Blatnik Road.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Frank J. and infant sister, Rose Blatnik.
Surviving are his wife, Gladys Wieleba Blatnik, one son, Dr. Jay and his wife Maureen Blatnik of Powell, Ohio; one daughter, Johnette Pollock of St. Clairsville, Ohio; one brother, Dr. Al and his wife the Honorable Thais Blatnik of Wheeling, W. Va. John is also survived by three grandsons, Paul, Travis and Jeff Pollock and two granddaughters, Mara and Sara Blatnik; and several nieces and nephews. A special friend and caregiver, Laura Coey, also survives.
Friends will be received Friday, 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., at the Wilson Funeral Home, 920 National Road, Brookside. Funeral Liturgy with Mass will be celebrated on Saturday at 1 p.m., at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Wolfhurst, with Monsignor Mark J. Froelich, celebrant. Interment will follow in Holly Memorial Gardens, Pleasant Grove.