September 26, 2021

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 . . . not a daunting task I thought. But as I began to dig a little deeper I discovered there were actually many more. Ballplayers had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and seemingly been forgotten by the baseball community. As of today the actual number of players who lost their lives during WWII stands at a staggering 133 – 127 of them are remembered in my new book Baseball’s Dead of World War II published by McFarland.

Totalling 262 pages with over 30 photographs, Baseball’s Dead of World War II, details the all-too-brief lives of young ballplayers whose careers were interrupted and ultimately ended by military service during World War II. They fought and died on all fronts. Second baseman Billy Hebert, pitcher Jack Moller and catcher Harry O’Neill all lost their lives in the Pacific. Outfielder Elmer Gedeon and first baseman Ernie Holbrook died in Europe. Outfielder George Gamble and pitcher John Regan were killed in the China-Burma-India Theater. Catcher Whitey Loos and pitcher Felix Little lost their lives in South America, while pitcher Murrill Brown and outfielder Curly Kopp died without leaving the United States.

Never before have the stories of these fine young men been compiled in one volume and told in such great detail. America in WWII magazine said it was “one of the most compelling, memorable and enjoyable World War II histories I have read in a while.”

Baseball’s Dead of World War II is available online from and and can be ordered from all good book stores.

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