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Place of Birth:
September 27, 1919 in
September 24, 1980 Newnan, Georgia
65th Infantry Division
European Theater of Operations
Major League Stats:
Bill Ayers on Baseball-Almanac
O “Bill” Ayers was born on September 27, 1919 in Newnan,
Georgia. He pitched for
of the North Carolina State League in 1938 and was 9-1. Working his
way through the minors, the 6-foot-3 right-hander was 19-9 with Savannah in the South Atlantic League in 1942
and joined the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1943.
He was 15-8 that year with a 3.10 ERA before entering military
service with the Army at
Fort McPherson, Georgia on July 10.
Pitching for the Atlanta Army Ordnance Depot in
September 1943, Ayers helped the team win the National Amateur
Baseball Federation title at Youngstown, Ohio
in September. He pitched a two-hitter in opening game.
Ayers was with the 65th Infantry
Division in Europe in 1945, and pitched for the division baseball team
following the German surrender. Ayers perfected his forkball during
this time and the 65th Infantry Division were II Corps
champions. He was then selected to play for the 71st
Infantry Division – Third Army representatives – in the 1945 ETO
World Series in September 1945.
Pitching in Game Four of the ETO World Series
against Negro League sensation, Leon Day of the OISE All-Stars, on
September 7, Ayers hurled a five-hit 5-0 shutout to tie the series
at two games apiece (the OISE All-Stars clinched the series in the
Returning to the Atlanta Crackers in 1946, Ayers
had an outstanding season with a 21-10 record and untouchable 1.95
ERA. On August 8, he demonstrated iron man qualities going the
distance for Atlanta
in a 21-inning 4-4 tie with
Sold to the New York Giants along with Earl
McGowan and Lloyd Gearhart, he was a spring training sensation for
the Giants, allowing only two earned runs in 23 innings. He made his
major league debut on April 17, 1947 as the team’s number two
starter, but lasted only three and two-thirds innings against the
Phillies, giving up seven hits.
Ayers made a further three starts and nine relief
appearances for a 0-3 record and 8.15 ERA before joining Jersey City in the International League for
the remainder of the season. The Giants assigned him to the
Minneapolis Millers of the American Association in 1948 and he
remained with the club for three seasons with records of 11-12,
12-16 and 11-10.
The Giants traded Ayers to Oakland in the Pacific League at the end of
1950 where he flourished with a 20-13 season in 1951. He pitched for
the Havana Reds in the Cuban League in 1952 and led the team to the
Caribbean Series crown in
that year. After a slow start in 1953, the Oaks peddled Ayers to Wenatchee in the Western International League, but the
33-year-old refused to report and returned to his home in Newnan, Georgia.
In 1954, he briefly reappeared in the minors with
in the South Atlantic League and again with Atlanta before calling it quits.
Bill Ayers passed away in Newnan, Georgia
on September 24, 1980 – three days before his 61st
birthday. He was inducted in the Coweta Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Created January 3, 2008.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.