Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Porter Vaughan


Date and Place of Birth: May 11, 1919 Stevensville, Virginia

Died: July 30, 2008 Richmond, Virginia

Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit:
US Army and US Army Air Force

Area Served: United States

Cecil P “Porter” Vaughan was born on May 11, 1919 in Stevensville, Virginia. He was an outstanding left-handed pitcher at the University of Richmond from 1938 to 1940, and still holds the season and career records fro strikeouts per nine innings.

Vaughan signed for a $7,500 bonus with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics upon graduation and made his major league debut – without playing a game in the minors – on June 16, 1940 against the Cleveland Indians. Vaughan made 18 appearances that season – 15 as a starter – and finished with a 2-9 won-loss record and 5.35 ERA for the cellar-dwelling Athletics.

Vaughan was optioned to Toronto of the International League for 1941, where his 12-12 record and 3.65 ERA earned a recall by the Athletics in September. He made five appearances for an 0-2 record before the season concluded.

On January 15, 1942, Vaughan entered military service with the Army. He was stationed at Camp Lee, Virginia, where he regularly pitched for the ball team. His teammates at the time included Jack Sanford, Clarence “Soup” Campbell and Hank Nowak – a highly touted pitcher in the Cardinals’ organization who was killed in action in Belgium on New Year’s Day 1945.

In July 1942, Private Vaughan was promoted to corporal and admitted that he would like to earn a commission. “I want to be a commissioned officer,” he said, “even though it means I have to give up baseball for the time being."

To earn his commission, Vaughan was transferred to the Army Air Force and to Buckley Field, Colorado – a technical training school on the outskirts of Denver that would train over 50,000 airmen in initial basic training.

Continuing to play baseball in the Victory League for Buckley Field (he was 8-6 with 2.68 ERA in 1944), First-Lieutenant Vaughan was promoted to Captain in February 1945.

Discharged in late 1945, 26-year-old Vaughan returned to the Athletics for spring training in 1946. He began the season in Philadelphia but made just one brief appearance before being sold to Kansas City of the American Association in May. Vaughan pitched well for Kansas City, including a 15-3 win against Minneapolis on May 25, before arm trouble brought his career to a premature close. He finished the season with a 4-2 record and 2.22 ERA.

After baseball, Vaughan established a successful real estate business in Richmond. He was installed as the President of the Richmond Association of Realtors in 1963 and was named their "Realtor of the Year" in 1988. The Virginia Association of Realtors installed him as its President in 1970 and in that same year recognized him as its "Realtor of the Year."

He has also served the University of Richmond as chairman of the Athletic Council, and as a member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Associates.

Porter Vaughan passed away in Richmond, Virginia on July 30, 2008.

Thanks to Dave Drain of Land-o-Lakes, Florida, a cousin of Porter Vaughan, for help with this biography.

Created May 1, 2008. Updated August 18, 2008.


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