In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row
In Flanders Fields
the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
That is the start of a poem by Lieutenant Colonel
John McCrae, a doctor in the Canadian Army during World War I. You can
read the rest of it here.
Mehring Monday is taking a step away from
its usual tone because this Wednesday is Veterans Day. If not for the
sacrifice of all of our veterans, Mehring Monday might not be able to be
the way that it is most of the time.
Baseball has many veterans, most from World War
Feller was in the Navy. Ted
Williams was a Marine fighter pilot. Yogi
Berra was a gunner's mate on a landing craft for D-Day.
Click here to see the excellent Gary
Bedingfield's Baseball in Wartime website. All
of the bios for WWII veterans are here.
To share a few of the stories, we just picked out
a few from Gary's site.
Greenberg was in the drafted into the Army in December of 1940. He was
discharged along with all men age 28 or older on December 5, 1941. He
re-enlisted in February of 1942.
"We are in
trouble," he told The Sporting News, "and there is only one thing for me to
do - return to the service. This doubtless means I am finished with baseball
and it would be silly for me to say I do not leave it without a pang. But all of
us are confronted with a terrible task - the defense of our country and the
fight for our lives."
Berg's story has been told before -- and
in greater detail, but it is worth revisiting again.
August 2, 1943, Berg accepted a position with the Office of Strategic Services.
In September, he was assigned to the Secret Intelligence branch of the OSS and
given a place at the OSS Balkans desk. In this role, he parachuted into
Yugoslavia to evaluate the various resistance groups operating against the Nazis
to determine which was the strongest. His evaluations were used to help
determine the amount of support and aid to give each group.
late 1943, Berg was assigned to Project Larson, an OSS operation set up by OSS
Chief of Special Projects John Shaheen. The stated purpose of the project was to
kidnap Italian rocket and missile specialists out of Italy and bring them to the
United States. However, there was another project hidden within Larson called
Project AZUSA with the goal of interviewing Italian physicists to see what they
knew about Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. It was similar
in scope and mission to the Alsos project. On May 4, 1944 Berg left for London
and the start of his mission.
May to mid-December, Berg hopped around Europe interviewing physicists and
trying to convince several to leave Europe and work in America. Despite
Berg's wartime vocation calling for anonymity, he did betray himself on one
occasion. While at a field hospital in France, Berg could not resist the
temptation to join in a game of catch with a couple of GIs. After the former
major leaguer had made a couple of throws one of the soldiers remarked,
"You're a pro." Soon afterwards the soldier added, "You're a
catcher," another throw and his cover was blown, "and your name is Moe
the beginning of December, Berg
attended a lecture by prominent German physicist Werner Heisenberg. His orders
were to kill the scientist if there was any indication that the Germans were
close to building an atomic bomb. Fortunately, Berg was not required to fulfill
his orders as the Germans were far behind in the race to build an atomic weapon.
returned to the United States on April 25, 1945, and resigned from the Strategic
Services Unit - the successor to the OSS - in August. He was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 10, 1945 but he rejected the award.
Some years after his death, the award was accepted on his behalf by his sister.
Tipton was a member of the Appleton Papermakers in
1941. In 1942, he was with the Charleston Senators. In 1943, he was
in the military...
with the Navy aboard the escort carrier USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76) in the
Pacific. He was at Leyte, Okinawa and
, and survived a kamikaze attack on January 8, 1945, when the Kadashan
Bay was hit amidships directly below the bridge. After an hour and a half of
feverish damage control effort, fires and flooding were checked.
Clark would not join the Papermakers until 1947.
That was after his tour with the Navy.
From 1944 to February 6,
1946, he served with the Navy and was on a destroyer in the Pacific. Clark -
assigned to a landing craft - saw action at Iwo Jima, the
Anschultz was a Papermaker for two games in 1941 and entered the military.
served with the Army Air Force and was based in England where he pitched
for a Bomb Group. In
August 1943 he was selected to play with the Eighth Air Force All-Stars - a
team of professionals who were led by former Senators' pitcher, Montie Weaver.
The Eighth Air Force defeated a hand-selected team of Army professionals, 1-0,
thanks to Bill Brech's outstanding no-hitter. The team then toured military
bases throughout Britain playing a total of 29 exhibition games.
was a Papermaker in 1940 and went on to pitch for the Sheboygan Indians in
1941. He went into the Army in 1942 and didn't come home.
entered military service with the Army on
July 25, 1942
Michigan. He served with the
82nd Field Artillery Battalion of 1st Cavalry Division in
and was killed in action during the battle for the Philippines on February 21,
Fifth Grade Williams was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and is buried at
something to think about this Wednesday or any day really.
Need More Mehring? Try the Rattler
Previous Mehring Mondays:
It's A Fantasy
Ryan Franklin, All Star
Appleton's Other Hall of Famers
It Hasn't Happened...Yet!
Get on the Bus
The End...For Now
It's a Common Question
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.