Wyatt: Hank Bauer, unsung hero

From Daniel Wyatt at The National Pastime Museum on October 5, 2015:

Henry Albert “Hank” Bauer never took crap from anybody. He was an all-hustle badass, on and off the field. And it showed in his appearance: Hey, Sports Illustrated columnist Jim Murray said that Bauer’s face “looked like a clenched fist.”

Born in East St. Louis, Illinois on July 31, 1922, Bauer grew up a fan of the rough-and-tumble Gas House Gang St. Louis Cardinals of the 1930s. He played baseball and basketball at East St. Louis Central Catholic High School, graduated in the spring of 1941, then signed with the independent Class D Oshkosh Giants of the Wisconsin State League, where he hit .262. That fall, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

Overseas, he contracted malaria but recovered and earned 11 campaign ribbons, two Purple Hearts, and two Bronze Stars facing combat at Guadalcanal, Guam, and Okinawa in the Pacific Theatre. During one harrowing mission on Okinawa, Lieutenant Bauer, in charge of 64 marines, took an awful beating in which he and only five other Americans survived. The 32-month war experience hardened Bauer for life, while his injuries left him with pieces of shrapnel that he carried around in his body to his dying day.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/unsung-hero-hank-bauer

Originally published: October 5, 2015. Last Updated: October 5, 2015.