Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free

 

World War II Hero of the Minor Leagues 

 

Roman Wantuck

 

Date and Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Date and Place of Death: June 16 1944 New Guinea
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: US Army
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

 

Wantuck will no doubt be ready for return to organized ball when the big battle is won and we Texas City fans will follow his record.

Galveston Daily News July 25, 1943

 

Roman E "Chipper" Wantuck was born in Chicago, Illinois. He signed with the Sheboygan Indians in the Wisconsin State League in 1941, winning 15 and losing seven and posting a 3.31 ERA. The club finished fourth that year to get into the playoffs, and emerged as league champions because of a Green Bay forfeit. In 1942 with Sheboygan he was 19-6 with 21 complete games. He also hit .291 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs as a part-time outfielder, to lead the team to a second straight championship.

 

Wantuck was drafted by Macon in the fall of 1942 and played with Portsmouth in 1943 and was transferred to Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League.

 

Wantuck entered military service after the 1943 season. He served with the Army and was based at Fort Crockett, Texas where he became a star pitcher for the Fort Crockett Buckeyes baseball team in the Texas City Oil League. "Fans will be ready to argue with any newcomer or old-timer," wrote Shorty Yarbrough in the Galveston Daily News on July 25, 1943, "that Roman Wantuck was as much pitcher as any man who ever set foot on the high school athletic field [where a recent game was played]. Wantuck will no doubt be ready for return to organized ball when the big battle is won and we Texas City fans will follow his record."

 

Private First Class Wantuck was sent to the Pacific at the end of 1943. He was killed in action at New Guinea on June 16, 1944.Minor League Baseball

 

 

Thanks to the Chicago Historical Society for help with this biography.

 

Added September 19, 2006

 

Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.