Jenks: The extraordinary story of Bert Shepard, prisoner of war turned one-legged pitcher

From Jayson Jenks at The Athletic on May 8, 2019:

Bert Shepard woke up in a hospital with everyone around him speaking German. He did not know how long he had been there, or how he had gotten there, or what had happened once everything went black.

One moment, he was roaring over the German countryside in his P-38, hunting trains, trucks and fuel-storage tanks. The next moment, anti-aircraft fire had shredded his right ankle and his head had smashed into his gunsight and then …


In the hospital, he remembered his ankle, so he pulled back the bed sheets and looked down. His right leg was gone below the knee.

“Thank you for saving my life,” he told the German doctors, and meant it. But then another thought crossed his mind, a cruel nightmare robbing him of the only thing he had ever wanted to do.

He would never play baseball again.

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Originally published: May 17, 2019. Last Updated: May 17, 2019.