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Place of Birth:
June 4, 1925
June 11, 1983
Spring Valley, California
Private First Class
Military Unit: US Army
European Theater of Operations
Major League Stats:
Dick Aylward on Baseball-Almanac
Richard J “Dick” Aylward
was born on June 4, 1925 in Baltimore,
Maryland. He grew up in
where he was an all-round athlete at
and was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1943.
Aylward played for the Lockport Cubs in the PONY
League his rookie year and entered military service on October 4,
1943. Entering service in Boston,
Massachusetts, he soon found himself a private first
class with the infantry in Europe.
While advancing through a ruined German town, a
bullet creased his skull. "I went down like I was hit by a
baseball," he told The
Sporting News on March 11, 1953. "Spent four months in the
hospital before going back into the line. It was no good. I had five
campaign ribbons, but now I had nerves."
Aylward spent a further six months at a hospital
in the United States
before returning to the Cubs’ organization in 1946. He joined
in the Southern Association for spring training and played that year
for Quebec in the
Canadian-American League where he batted .263 with 55 RBIs. Aylward
earned promotion to Tulsa in the
Texas League for 1947, but the young catcher struggled at the plate
and was sent to Des Moines in the Western League where his
poor batting form continued and he ended the year with a .186
In 1948 he joined Springfield
in the New England League, was back with
Des Moines in 1949, and spent the next three
years – 1950 to 1952 – with the Dallas Eagles in the Texas League.
Aylward continued to have trouble at the plate (he batted just .198
in 1951) and seriously considered quitting the game. He now had a
wife and child and contemplated returning home to
Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, a .285 batting
average in 1952 (a jump of 87 points) gave him hope.
He was purchased by the Cleveland Indians and
invited to spring training at
Florida in 1953. The 27-year-old
grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He had a grapefruit league
batting average of .390 and made the team as their third-string
Aylward made his major league debut on May 1,
1953 against the Boston Red Sox. He would appear in a further three
games before being sent to
in the American Association. He later played for
and Seattle in the Pacific Coast
League, ending his professional career with
in the Southern Association in 1958.
Dick Aylward passed away on June 11, 1983 in Spring Valley,
California. He was 58.
Thanks to Bob Stephenson for the photo.
Created January 3, 2008.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.