Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Eddie Yount


Date and Place of Birth: December 19, 1915 Newton, North Carolina

Died: October 26, 1973 Newton, North Carolina

Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit:
12th Armored Division US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations


Floyd E “Eddie” Yount was born on December 19, 1915 in Newton, North Carolina. A graduate of Wake Forest College, the young outfielder signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1937 and trained with the major league club in Mexico during the spring.

Despite a good showing in spring training, Yount joined the Williamsport Grays of the New York-Penn League. In 133 games he batted .293 and made his major league debut with the Athletics on September 9, 1937 against the Senators. In 1938, Yount was back with Williamsport but also played for Portsmouth of the Piedmont League and Oakland of the Pacific Coast League.

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In 1939, Yount played for Portsmouth of the Piedmont League and returned to the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in two games as a pinch hitter in September.

The 24-year-old played for Little Rock of the Southern Association in 1940 and was with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League in 1941. He was back with Toronto in 1942 and also played for Hamilton of the PONY League where he was converted to a catcher.

In December 1942, Yount entered military service with the Army. He was stationed at Camp Campbell, Kentucky, with the 12th Armored Division where he played baseball for the 12th Armored Division Hellcats. Yount took over as manager of the Hellcats in mid-season 1943 when Jimmie Reese – former New York Yankees infielder - was discharged from military service. In October 1943, Yount was behind the plate for the all-star Second Army team, helping pitcher Hugh Mulcahy clinch the Southern Service championship against Fort Oglethorpe.

Yount remained the Hellcats’ manager when the division moved to Camp Barkeley, Texas, and following a short spell at Special Service School at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, he led the team a highly successful season and a place in the finals of the Texas semi-pro tournament.

In 1945, the 12th Armored Division was sent to Europe and following the surrender of Germany the Hellcats ball team was back in action with Yount accompanied by Walt Lanfranconi and former University of Arizona star and minor leaguer Mattie Matulis, who both had played for the Hellcats in Texas.

In May 1945, Sergeant Yount, along with Lanfranconi, conducted a highly successful four-day athletic school. Each of the four days of the school was divided into a lecture period in the morning and a period of practical work in teaching and playing games in the afternoon. Athletic certificates were awarded to 50 officers and enlisted men.

In 1946, Yount returned to professional baseball and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Later that year he joined the Buffalo Bisons and in 1947 he batted .267 in 101 games for the Bisons.

Yount became player-manager of the Newton-Conover Twins of the Western Carolina League in 1948 and batted a remarkable .420, second only to Wes Ferrell’s .425 average with Marion. In four seasons with Newton-Conover, Yount never batted below .300. He ended his playing days in 1952 as non-playing manager of the Western Carolina League’s Hickory Rebels.

Eddie Yount passed away in his hometown on Newton, North Carolina on October 26, 1973. He was only 54.

Created August 21, 2008.


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