In Memoriam: D-Day baseball deaths

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on June 6, 2012:

At Baseball’s Greatest Sacrifice, historian Gary Bedingfield tracks the professional baseball players who have lost their lives while serving in the armed services during wartime. Bedingfield has identified five ex-minor leaguers who were killed during the D-Day invasion — 68 years ago, today — including Medal of Honor winner Joe Pinder, who turned 32 that day. Pinder’s fate, along with the other four players who lost their lives that day …


With the air filled with small arms fire and exploding artillery it was only a matter of time before Pinder was hit. As he desperately waded through the water, a bullet clipped him, causing him to stumble, but he did not stop. Another bullet ripped through the left side of his face and he held the gaping flesh in place as he carried on. Pinder made it to the beach, dropped the radio and returned to the water to retrieve more equipment. Then, instead of looking for somewhere to protect himself from the relentless enemy barrage, he returned a third time to collect essential spare parts and code books. Again he was hit as a burst of machine gun fire tore through his upper body. He fell, then somehow struggled to his feet, and with his last ounce of energy made it to the beach

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Originally published: June 6, 2012. Last Updated: June 6, 2012.