Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

Click Here to Review Wayne Terwilliger's Stats on Baseball Almanac
“Where what happened yesterday is being preserved today.”


Wayne Terwilliger


Date and Place of Birth: June 27, 1925 Charlotte, Michigan
Baseball Experience: Major League
Second Base
Military Unit: US
Marine Corps

Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Wayne Terwilliger with the DodgersWillard W “Wayne” Terwilliger was born on June 27, 1925 in Charlotte, Michigan. He entered military service with the Marines in 1943 and seved as a radioman on an amphibian tank in the Pacific.

Corporal Terwilliger participated in the invasions of Tinian and Iwo Jima, and had his tank knocked out at Saipan. "We were hit and the tank bogged down,” he told The Sporting News on April 26, 1950. “We had to abandon the tank. Everybody scattered into the nearest fox holes. But at just about that time a Jap tank rolled up and began blasting away.

"I knew I had to get out of there, so I ran for the beach, zigzagging in and out with the tank chasing me. I'm sure I'd be lying out there somewhere  now, if it hadn't been for one of our own tanks, which luckily showed up while I was doing all that broken field running.They knocked out the Jap tank."

Terwilliger was discharged in late 1945 and attended Western Michigan College where he quickly became a star shortstop. As early as 1946, he was attracting attention from major league scouts and St Louis Browns’ scout Jack Fournier, was particularly keen to sign him.

Terwilliger completed his college education and was playing second base with the semi-pro Benton Harbor Buds when he was signed by the Chicago Cubs in July 1948. He finished the season with the Des Moines Bruins of the Western League and joined the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League in 1949 where he batted .275 in 115 games and was called up to the Cubs in Augsut. Terwilliger played 36 games at second base for the Cubs and batted .223.

Wayne Terwilliger with the Fort Worth CatsIn 1950 he became the Cubs’ regular second baseman then was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in June 1951 and found himself back in the minors with the St Paul Saints of the American Association in 1952.

Terwilliger was selected off waivers by the Washington Senators in September 1952 and spent two seasons with the American League before being sold to the New York Giants in 1955. He ended his major league playing days with the Kansas City Athletics in 1960 and began a career as a minor league manager before joining the Washington Senators as a the third-base coach from 1969 to 1971. He coached the Texas Rangers in their first season, 1972, and returned to coach the Rangers from 1981 through 1985. He was the first-base coach of the Minnesota Twins when they won the World Series  in 1987 and 1991.

From 1995 to 2002, Terwilliger coached the St Paul Saints of the Northern League and then managed the Fort Worth Cats of the Central League form 2003 to 2005. After retiring from managing, Terwilliger became the Cats first base coach – a position he still holds today at the age 83.

Thanks to Wayne Terwilliger for help with his biography.


Created July 11, 2008.

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