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Ken Trinkle


Date and Place of Birth: December 15, 1919 Paoli, Indiana

Died: May 10, 1976 Paoli, Indiana

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher

Military Unit: 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized), 9th Armored Division US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations


Kenneth W “Ken” Trinkle was born on December 15, 1919 in Paoli, Indiana. A right-handed pitcher in high school, he signed a professional contract to play with Thomasville in 1939. He then spent three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League from 1940 to 1942, and was 15-11 in his last year there before being purchased by the New York Giants.


Trinkle made his debut with the Giants on April 25, 1943. He made 11 appearances and despite a respectable 3.74 ERA he was 1-5 when he got farmed out to Jersey City.


On September 18, 1943, Trinkle entered military service with the Army. He was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, where, in June 1944, he hurled a sevin-inning no-hitter in his Fort Meade debut against the Edgewood Arsenal. Later in the year he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he played with the Fort Riley team alongside Pete Reiser, Harry Walker, Joe Gantenbein, Al Brazle, Murry Dickson and Joe Garagiola.


Trinkle was shipped to France with Dickson and Gantenbein, but they were separated upon arrival and Trinkle went to the replacement center for the 9th Armored Division. He saw action at the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star. “I was a scout in a reconnaissance outfit,” he told The Sporting News on June 4, 1947. “We would go out in front of the infantry to report if anything was there. If you didn’t come back, they knew there was something out there.”


Following the German surrender in May 1945, Trinkle teamed up with Ralph Houk for the 9th Armored Division baseball team that made it to the play-offs of the 1945 ETO World Series. Another teammate was minor leaguer Ed Musial, Stan's younger brother.


Trinkle played for the 71st Infantry Division Red Circlers baseball team after the cease of hostilities in Europe.


The 71st Red Circlers team featured Ewell Blackwell, Ancil Moore, Johnny Wyrostek, Garland Lawing, Ewell Blackwell, Russ Kern, Milt Ticco, Herb Bremer and Bill Ayers. The Red Circlers clinched a five-game Third Army Championship Series in August 1945 against the National League division winners - the 76th Infantry Division Onaways - to move on to the ETO World Series against the OISE All-Stars from France.


In front of crowds of 50,000 at Soldier's Field in Nurnberg, Germany, the Red Circlers won the first game on September 2, 9-2. The Red Circlers were beaten by Negro League star Leon Day in the second game, and lost 2-1 in game three on September 6. In the decisive fifth game the Red Circlers were again beaten 2-1 on a combined effort by Sam Nahem and Bobby Keane.


By November 1945 Trinkle was back with the New York Giants. The sinker ball specialist had great success as a reliever and made a league-leading 48 appearances for the Giants in 1946. In 1947 he again led the National League in appearances with 62, finishing 38 of those games. He made a further 53 appearances in 1948 but was sold to the Phillies in December. In 1949, his only season with Philadelphia and his last in the major leagues, Trinkle pitched in 42 games and recorded his highest major league ERA at 4.00.



Trinkle pitched for the Toronto Maple Leafs of International League in 1950, and was back with Baltimore for 1951 and 1952.


Ken Trinkle passed away on May 10, 1976 in his hometown of Paoli, Indiana. He was just 55 years old.


Ken Trinkle


Thanks to Michael Sekeres for help with this biography.


Created June 7, 2007. Updated May 11, 2020.


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