Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Dick Kryhoski


Date and Place of Birth: March 24, 1925 Leonia, New Jersey

Died: April 10, 2007 Beverly Hills, Michigan

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: First Base
Rank: Machinist’s Mate
Military Unit: US Navy

Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations


Richard D “Dick” Kryhoski was born on March 24, 1925 in Leonia, New Jersey. He was the captain of the Leonia High School baseball team and further perfected his baseball skills on the local sandlots. He was signed by New York Yankees’ scout Paul Krichell in 1943 but entered military service with the Navy before being assigned to a club.


As a machinist’s mate he served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga in the Pacific. The Ticonderoga supplied air support for the landings at Leyte and Luzon. In January 1945, the carrier was hit by two Japanese kamikaze planes, killing more than 100 sailors. She limped home to the United States for repair before supporting operations leading to the invasion of mainland Japan. On August 16, word reached the USS Ticonderoga that Japan had capitulated. She continued patrols over Japanese territory and sent reconnaissance flights in search of camps containing Allied prisoners of war so that air-dropped supplies could be rushed to them. On September 6 - four days after the formal surrender - Ticonderoga entered Tokyo Bay.


Kryhoski returned to the Yankees’ organization in 1946 and was assigned to the Binghamton Triplets of the Eastern League. The Triplets sent the youngster to the Wellsville Yankees of the PONY League where he was badly beaned in August and out for two weeks. But on his return against Olean on August 30, Kryhoski hit three home runs and a single. He was back with Binghamton in 1947, where he hit .281 and batted .295 with the Kansas City Blues of the American Association in 1948.


In 1949, Kryhoski joined the Yankees for spring training. He impressed manager Stengel and found himself the opening day first baseman on April 19. "I remember putting my uniform on and standing in front of the mirror for a long time," Kryhoski later recalled.


He played 54 games and batted a respectable .294 before completing the season with the Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .324. In December 1949, he was traded to the Tigers for Dick Wakefield and played 53 games in Detroit but batted only .219 and spent time with the Toledo Mud Hens in the American Association.


He was back with Detroit in 1951 and played 119 games, batting .287 with 12 home runs and 57 RBIs. Playing against the Browns on August 19, he witnessed one of the great moments in baseball history when the Browns sent 3-foot-7 midget Eddie Gaedel to the plate. Gaedel walked on four pitches, and was replaced at first base by a pinch runner.


Kryhoski and the Tigers parted company in February 1952 as he was traded to the St Louis Browns and the first baseman played 11 games, batting .243. Back with the Browns in 1953, he hit .278 in 104 games with 16 home runs, but joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1954 and hit .260 in 100 games. Kryhoski’s major league career ended the following season with the Kansas City Athletics, playing 28 games and batting .213, finishing the year with Columbus in the International League


Kryhoski left baseball and spent many years as a district sales manager for Keuffel & Esser, a maker of slide rules and other engineering equipment. He regularly attended St Louis Browns’ reunions and card signings.


Dick Kryhoski died peacefully at his home in Beverly Hills, Michigan on May 10, 2007. He was 82 years old, and his ashes are interred at the Northbrook Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills.


Created September 2, 2007.


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