April 24, 2014

Would Korean War Casualty Carl Tumlinson Have Replaced the Ageing Pee Wee Reese as the Dodgers Shortstop?

February 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Dodgers Hall of Fame shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, played his last full season at that position in 1956, aged 37. Charlie Neal (1957) then Don Zimmer (1958) were his immediate replacements. Not until the emergence of Maury Wills in 1960 did the Dodgers have a shortstop who, in any way, resembled the great Pee […]

Bob Stephens: Minor League Pitcher and WWII Fighter Ace

June 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Bob Stephens’ baseball career was interrupted by military service after just one season, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him from reaching for the sky. As a P-51 Mustang pilot, Stephens shot down 13 enemy fighters, attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel before his 24th birthday and served with the Air Force for 18 […]

Ultimate Sacrifice Baseball Card Set Part 2

April 22, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Last week I talked about the idea of creating a set of baseball cards for the 142 professional players who lost their lives serving with the military during WWII. I was pleased to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response and it would seem many of you believe it would be a great idea to produce […]

Ultimate Sacrifice Baseball Card Set

April 16, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Of the 142 professional baseball players who lost their lives during World War II, I doubt any of them ever appeared on a baseball card. This got me thinking about how nice it would be to create cards for each of them and I have to admit I have taken my inspiration from Gary Cieradkowski’s […]

Bill Hosie: Young Canadian Ballplayer Killed in WWII

March 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the past ten years or so, I have scoured countless newspapers from the 1930s looking for references to ballplayers who were killed while serving with the armed forces during World War II. In addition to the 141 former professional players that I’ve uncovered I have found reference to hundreds of semi-pro, college and high […]

Bob Nieman: 141st Former Pro Killed in WWII

March 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Every time I discover another minor leaguer that was killed while serving with the military during WWII I believe it’s the last. Just two days ago I posted an article about Jim Robertson who played 21 games with the Salem Senators of the Western International League in 1941. Jim was killed following a night-time bombing […]

Jim Robertson: 140th Former Pro Killed in WWII

March 20, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Jim Robertson was an outstanding college athlete who had just begun his professional career in baseball when military service called during the summer of 1942. He is the 140th former pro ballplayer to have been killed during the war.

Aubrey Stewart: African-American Pitcher Killed in WWII

March 8, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

Aubrey Stewart was a semi-pro pitcher with the Piedmont Colored Giants who volunteered for military service in 1942 and became a victim of a WWII atrocity.

139 Ballplayers Died in Service in World War II

March 4, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Names such as Bob Feller and Ted Williams instantly spring to mind when we think of dedication to service during the war years, but little is heard of the minor league players who also served. While the majority of big leaguers enjoyed an almost normal existence (albeit for $21 a month service pay) playing baseball […]

We Lose Duke Snider, Aged 84

February 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I had the pleasure of meeting Duke Snider and his wife Beverly, in London back in 1980. I was 17 years old at the time; playing baseball with one of Britain’s most successful baseball teams, and had written to Duke asking him for hitting tips. A couple of months later the phone rang at our […]

Gene Dellinger: 138th Former Pro Dead in WWII

February 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Gene Dellinger out hit Hall of Famer Duke Snider when they both played for the Newport News Dodgers in 1944. But died less than two years later while serving with the Army in Europe.

Further Details on Walt Navie’s 1945 Suicide

February 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Walter Navie was a 20-game winner in the minors and headed for a career with the White Sox. But four years of military service ended in tragic circumstances. I have recently uncovered more details on the circumstances surrounding Navie’s death.

Milt Rosenstein: 20-Game Winner Killed in WWII

January 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Milton “Rosey” Rosenstein was born on June 20, 1920 in Hunter, New York. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Isidore Rosenstein, Jewish immigrants from Russia, he grew up in Ellenville, New York, a village approximately 90 miles northwest of New York City in the Rondout Valley, at the eastern base of the Catskill Mountains. Rosenstein […]

Can Anyone Identify Troy Furr and James Stewart?

January 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

My search for the identities of baseball players who lost their lives during World War II is a never-ending one and I have recently discovered two more possibilities. Perhaps someone can help shed a little more light? Whilst browsing the Spartanburg Herald of January 1946, I found an article about former Atlanta Crackers players who […]

Mickey Grasso’s Wartime Journal

August 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A 150-page journal that was kept by big leaguer catcher Mickey Grasso while he was a prisoner of the Germans in World War II, has just been discovered in Miami. Now the owner wants to reunite the book with Mickey’s surviving family. On February 14, 1943, Mickey Grasso, a young catcher with the Interstate League’s […]

Elmer Gedeon – A True Hero of World War II

July 13, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Elmer Gedeon, nephew of former American League infielder Joe Gedeon, was a three-sport star at the University of Michigan and a major league outfielder in the 1930s. He is one of only two players with major league experience to be killed while serving his country during World War II. Elmer J. Gedeon was born in […]

Lefty Brewer: A D-Day Hero

June 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

On this day, 66 years ago, baseball lost a true D-Day hero. Lefty Brewer, owned by the Washington Senators, died fighting for his country more than 3,000 miles from home. Francis Field, home of the St. Augustine Saints of the Florida State League, was a magical place during the summer of 1938. As the smell […]

Remembering Baseball’s Dead of World War II on Memorial Day

May 30, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

We don’t celebrate Memorial Day in Scotland. We have a day for military veterans in November called Remembrance Day, just like you have Veterans Day, but nothing at this time of year. I think we should. So, until our government listen to my advice and make it happen, I’m going to share yours. Obviously, when […]

Remembering Baseball’s Heroes on VE-Day

May 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of VE-Day, let’s take a moment to remember the 58 professional baseball players who lost their lives in the fight against Nazi Germany. As you look through the list of names you will notice Herman Bauer, brother of Hank Bauer; Lefty Brewer, a promising young left-hander who spent some […]

Pete Castiglione Passes

May 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Peter P. Castiglione was born on February 13, 1921 in Greenwich, Connecticut. A high school baseball star he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in 1940 and played for the Carthage Pirates of the Class D Arkansas-Missouri League. In 55 games he batted .298 and advanced to the Hutchinson Pirates of the Class C Western […]

Remembering Charlie “King Kong” Keller

May 1, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Charles E. “King Kong” Keller was born on September 12, 1916 in Middletown, Maryland. An outfielder, Keller played baseball and basketball at the University of Maryland where he earned a degree in agricultural economics before signing with the New York Yankees in 1937. Keller played for the Newark Bears of the Class AA International League […]

Babe Ruth Homered in $800 Million Baseball Game

May 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

On August 26, 1943, 48-year-old Babe Ruth hit a home run off 43-year-old Walter Johnson into the right field stands at the Polo Grounds. The blast – one of the last by the Babe – was witnessed by 35,000 fans and helped raise $800 million in War Bonds. Organized by the long-since defunct New York […]

Baseball’s Dead of World War II

April 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

There has never been a baseball book like Baseball’s Dead of World War II.  (Baseball historian Bill Swank) A few years ago I began compiling biographies on professional baseball players who lost their lives in military service during World War II. At the time I had around 25 names to work with . . . […]

Hall of Famers at War – Warren Spahn

March 12, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Warren Spahn, the winningest left-handed pitcher in major league history, received a battlefield commission in 1945. Warren Spahn was born in Buffalo, New York on April 23, 1921. He played first base for the Buffalo City Athletic Club and pitched for South Park High School in Buffalo where he led the team to a series […]

Padres to Honor Nay Hernandez

March 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball historian Bill Swank is a guy who doesn’t give up easily. In fact, he’s the kind of person who never lets go once he’s got his claws into something. In this case, its Bill’s long fought dream to have Manuel P. “Nay” Hernandez recognized by the San Diego Padres baseball club. I’m guessing the […]