Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Ed Fitz Gerald

Date and Place of Birth: May 21, 1924 Santa Ynez, CA

Baseball Experience: Major League


Military Unit: 597th AAA Battalion, US Army

Area Served: Pacific and European Theater


Edward R. Fitz Gerald was at St. Mary’s College, California, when drafted for military service in April 1943. He served with the Army at Camp Roberts, California, then in the Aleutian Islands with the 597th AAA Battalion of the Arkansas National Guard at Dutch Harbor. With the threat to the Aleutians at an end, Fitz Gerald was sent to Europe, and was responsible for single-handedly capturing two German soldiers on the Rhine. He was on guard duty on the Germany-Austria border after the war. In 1946, Fitz Gerald signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and after hitting .363 in 144 games for the Pacific Coast League’s Sacramento Solons in 1947, he made his major league debut with the Pirates in April 1948. Fitz Gerald spent 12 seasons and played over 800 games in the majors. Following his playing days, he was an Indians coach in 1960, a Kansas City Athletics coach in 1961, and a member of the Minnesota Twins coaching staff from 1962 to 1964. He then managed the California League's Fresno Giants in 1965 and 1966.

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