Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Mel Almada

 

Date and Place of Birth: February 7, 1913 Huatabampo, Sonora, Mexico

Died: August 13, 1988 Caborca, Sonora, Mexico

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Outfield
Rank:
Unknown
Military Unit:
Army Medical Corps US Army

Area Served: United States

 

Mel Almada was the first Mexican born player in the major leagues.

 

Mel AlmadaBaldomero M “Mel” Almada was born on February 7, 1913 in Huatabampo, Sonora, Mexico. He attended high school in Los Angeles and signed with the Seattle Indians of the Pacific Coast League in 1932. The 19-year-old outfielder batted .311 his rookie season and hit .323 with Seattle the following year, prompting a call-up by the Boston Red Sox in September. Almada played 14 games in Boston and had an impressive 15 hits in 55 plate appearances for a .341 average.

In 1934, he played a further 23 games with the Red Sox but spent most of the season with the Kansas City Blues of the American Association where he batted .328 in 135 games. Almada stayed with Boston for 1935 and hit .290. His 20 stolen bases was third best in the American League.

Almada remained with Boston until he was traded to the Senators in June 1937. The 1938 season was split between the Senators and the Browns but he still managed to hit a league-leading 158 singles and finish the year with a .311 batting average.

In June 1939, the 26-year-old Almada was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers and he finished his major league career that year batting .228 in 81 games. He was back in the Pacific Coast League in 1940 but failed to hit with the Sacramento Solons batting just .232 in 104 games.

In 1941, Almada became a player-manager of the Torreon club of the Mexican National League and was batting .343 in 26 games when he quite the job and returned to the US on May 16. He did not return to organised baseball.

In May 1944, Almada – 31 – was called for military service with the Army. He took basic training at the Army Service Forces Training Center at Camp Barkeley, Texas and was then stationed with the Army Medical Corps at Fort Sam Houston, Texas for the remainder of the war. During 1945, Almada played for the Fort Sam Houston Rangers ball team in the San Antonio Service League. He batted .303 and also pitched and won five games for the Rangers.

Mel Almada managed Navajoa in the Pacific Coast League of Mexico during the 1950s. He passed away on August 13, 1988 in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico, aged 75.

Created September 19, 2008.

 

Thanks to Bob Stephenson for the portrait photo.

Copyright © 2009 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.