Ernesto Natali 'Ernie' Lombardi (April 6, 1908 - September 26, 1977), was a Major League Baseball catcher for the Brooklyn Robins, the Cincinnati Reds, the Boston Braves and the New York Giants during a Hall of Fame career that spanned 17 years, from 1931 to 1947. He had several nicknames, including 'Schnozz', 'Lumbago', 'Bocci', 'The Cyrano of the Iron Mask' and 'Lom'. Bill James called him 'the slowest man to ever play major league baseball well.' He is listed at 6'3' and 230 lbs, but he probably approached 300 lbs towards the end of his career. He was also known as a gentle giant and this made him hugely popular among Cincinnati fans. Ernie Lombardi started his professional baseball career for his hometown Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. He hit well (over .350 with power in 1929 and 1930) and had a strong arm. His talents were soon noticed by the Brooklyn Dodgers who purchased his contract for $50,000.
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