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 

 

Fred Yeske

 

Date and Place of Birth: November 22, 1921 Collinsville, Connecticut
Date and Place of Death: December 21, 1943 San Pietro, Italy
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: Company G, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

 

Fred YeskeFrederick J "Fred" Yeske was born in Collinsville, Connecticut November 22, 1921. He first attracted attention at Canton High School in Connecticut where he set a single-game strikeout record of 21.

 

He was signed by the Hartford Bees of the Eastern League in 1941 and optioned to the Bradford Bees in the PONY League and the Goldsboro Goldbugs in the Coastal Plain League. In 1942, he was assigned to the Welch Miners of the Class C Mountain State League where he was 7-5 in 21 games.

 

On September 5, 1942, Yeske entered military service with the Army and joined the 143rd Infantry Regiment of the 36th "Texas" Infantry Division. The division landed in North Africa on April 13, 1943, and first saw action on September 9, 1943, participating in the first invasion of the European mainland, going ashore near Salerno, Italy.

On December 21, 1943, Yeske was killed in action as the 143rd Infantry Regiment was attacking the Italian village of San Pietro. "[He] died single-handedly attacking an enemy position on a hill in Italy that was wreaking havoc with his unit," recalls his cousin Stephanie K Moore.Minor League Baseball

 

Thanks to Stephanie K Moore for biographical information and photos.

 

Added September 21, 2006. Updated May 20, 2009.

 

Copyright © 2009 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.