Superior Names of Baseball History: Johnny Lazor

Yes, I realize his name is probably pronounced “luh-zor” and is probably just a shortening of “Lazorako” or “Lazorachak,” but should that ruin our fun? The illustrious 19th and early 20th century Staten Island immigration workers say no — we should too!

First of all, the real facts: Johnny Lazor was a backup outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, and because of a little skirmish in Europe in the 1930s to 1940s, Lazor snatched a good chunk of playing time while Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio served their country. Lazor played well in their absence, but was probably just a fourth outfielder succeeding in a league depleted by war.

But the real question we need to ask ourselves is this: What would a Saturday morning cartoon featuring said Johnny Lazor be about?

The answers, though multifold, are rather obvious:

Cartoon Scenario #1, LAZORBAT (1980): Johnny Lazor is a hard-working baseball bat maker (it would be far too illustrious for him to be an actual baseball player; super heroes typically work crap jobs). One day, an evil — oh — German competitor named Angriff von Polen, the head of Baseballschl√§gern und Dinge, turns Lazor into a magical, talking bat.

A street-wise gang of kids finds Lazor and use his magic powers (namely the lasers that shoot out of the end of the bat) to battle von Polen. The kids never die or age, and they never actually beat or capture von Polen. Because it’s a Saturday morning cartoon. And those things never happen on Saturdays apparently.

After five seasons, the show is cancelled after European ex-patriots claim it has underlying neo-Nazi messages.

Cartoon Scenario #2, KID LAZOR (1991): Johnny Lazor is a 10-year-old kid growing up in 1950s Boston. The baseball-loving Lazor is a model child, happily living a life of obligation and duty and the secret crippling fear of the Catholic God that seizes Bostonians on a daily basis. One day, his normal Massachusetts life shatters when his parents reveal they are in fact New York Yankees fans. Lazor is heartbroken, but then shortly discovers they are automatons created by the evil Dr. Screwdriver.

Lazor then embarks on the 224 mile journey from Boston to New York in search of his real parents. Johnny encounters many interesting and exciting friends along the way, including the Jersey Devil, who is a crime-fighting pre-teen living in the New Haven area. Together they outwit and fight off Dr. Screwdriver’s automatons, but they never quite reach New York.

The show is cancelled after one season following complaints from parents, who claim the show “encourages children to run away” and “trivializes the very real dangers of people from New Jersey.”

Cartoon Scenario #2, JOHNNY LAZOR: CHILD GENIUS (1971): Johnny Lazor is a precocious yet brilliant 10-year-old kid. When Martians move in next door, Lazor knows it is up to him fight them off. With the help of his best friend, a talking and charming robotic bird named Crowbot, Lazor is able to foil the Martian’s repeated attempts to invade the neighborhood.

The show’s first episode is pulled after it becomes apparent the writer is a white supremacist.

Note: Johnny Lazor is not to be confused with Johnny Lazer, the Scottish musician who — given his foreign birth — would in all likelihood be a villain in any given Saturday morning cartoon.

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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.

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“Precocious yet brilliant?” C’mon, Bradley — they’re practically synonyms yet mean almost the same thing!