JAN2015: THE 142nd ARTICLE FOR BASEBALL GURU
they served their country
We don't hear about the ballplayers who fought in World War One and the second World War…..and who lost their lives:
Here are some of them:
ELMER GEDEON: WORLD WAR TWO: One of two players who were killed in World War Two. He was 27 when he died as a B - 52 pilot in a mission in France over Saint-Pol.
In 1939 and 1940 he was in the Minors. During the 1939 season He was called up by the Washington season and played with them for a short while. He was sent to the minors in '40. In '41 he was about to be called up again to the Senators but was drafted by the United States military. While there he established himself as a bomber pilot. On a mission over France his plane crashed and he subsequently earned a decoration for bravery.
The only other player killed during World War Two was Harry O'Neill.
HARRY O'NEILL: WORLD WAR TWO:
Harry O'Neil played just two innings in the Major Leagues. Even with his almost non-existent career there, he's still considered to have been the second Major leaguer killed in World War Two. He, like Elmer Gedeon was only 27 at the time.
Also like Gedeon he was a very fine athlete in college playing Football, Baseball and Basketball.
After graduation he signed with the Philadelphia Athletics who won out over other teams who were interested in him. In 1942 he enlisted in the Marines after having played in the Minors for two years. While seeing action in Iwo Jima he was separated from his platoon and was killed by a sniper.
BOB NEIGHBORS: KOREAN WAR:
As of now he is the latest ballplayer to have died in battle.
In 1937 he was brought up to the St, Louis Browns and appeared in a total of seven games. In eleven times at bat he managed 2 hits, one of which was a homerun. While back in the Minors his wife was killed by a car. Possibly as a result of that he did poorly that year and decided to quit the game and joined the Army Air Force. At Maxwell Air Base he married again and also played ball while there.
During a night mission, air control had a report that Neighbors plane was hit and the crew was bailing out. After several days there was no contact and the planes crew were reported missing in action.
As of now Neighbors is listed as a casualty of the Korean war.
EDDIE GRANT:WORLD WAR ONE:
Just before the end of the 1906 baseball season, the great Napolean Lajoie got sick and Eddie grant replaced him in the Cleveland Indians lineup. In 1907 he was with the Phillies. While there he was their third baseman from 1908 until 1910. After a stint with Cincinnatti he was traded to the Giants where he was a utility player. By 1915 he was out of baseball.
He enlisted in the Army after World War One broke out. At the battle of Meuse-Argonne while searching for the "LOST BATTALIAN" a stray shell hit him and he died instantly.
A monument for him was erected at the Polo Grounds in his honor. The plaque was stolen in 1957.
In 2006 a replica was put up at The San Francisco Giants ballpark where it still stands.
LARRY CHAPPELL: WORLD WAR ONE:
From 1913 to 1917 Chappell played for several teams…..Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Braves. His career average was .226, no home runs and 26 RBIs. He was considered to have been a very good prospect and received an $18,000 bonus (which in those days was quite good).
At the age of 28 he was drafted into the Army. In 1918 he was sent to an Army camp in France. Word was that in a week or so the group would be sent out to the Southern area of France to see action.
During that period Europe was suffering through a deadly epidemic of Spanish Flu. Chappell came down with it and his squad was sent out without him.
A week after he died. His body was sent back to the states where he was buried in Jerseyville Illinois.
Next month: Part two