Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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John Douglas

 

Date and Place of Birth: September 14, 1917 Thayer, West Virginia

Died: February 11, 1984 Miami, Florida

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position:
First Base
Rank:
Unknown
Military Unit: US Navy

Area Served: United States

John F Douglas was born on September 14, 1917 in Thayer, West Virginia. He was a star player for Woodrow Wilson High School and the Raleigh County League in West Virginia before going on to become an outstanding athlete at the University of Miami, Florida. The 6-foot-2 first baseman signed a professional contract with the Miami Wahoos of the Florida East Coast League in 1941 and led all first-year hitters in organized baseball with a .385 batting average. Furthermore, Douglas led the circuit with 11 runs scored and added 99 RBIs.

Purchased by the Montreal Royals of the International League, Douglas was preparing for the jump from Class D to Class AA ball when military service beckoned. Douglas served with the Navy at the Miami Naval Air Station from the beginning of 1942. On July 5, 1942, he collected two of air station’s three hits in a 9-1 loss to Hugh Mulcahy. Prior to the game Douglas was awarded the Spalding 1941 rookie batting championship trophy. 

Douglas later suffered a knee injury while in the Navy that required surgery and kept him in Portsmouth Naval Hospital for three months. He had to wearing a brace to walk and was still wearing the brace when he reported to Montreal – following a medical discharge – in 1945. 

Following a good spring, Douglas joined the Brooklyn Dodgers for the start of the season. He became Durocher’s first baseman on April 21, 1945, but failed to hit in five games (0 for 9) and was sent to Mobile of the Southern Association where he batted .328. Douglas spent the next four years with St Paul of the American Association and batted over .300 for three of those seasons.

Douglas continued to play in the minors until 1953 with Louisville, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Albany and Syracuse.

John Douglas passed away on February 11, 1984 in Miami, Florida. He was 67.

Created May 15, 2008.

Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.