Date and Place of Birth: September 5, 1920 Lexa, Arkansas
March 18, 2004 Alexander City, Alabama
Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations
Major League Stats: Gene Bearden on Baseball-Almanac
E “Gene” Bearden was born in
Bearden signed as a
pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 1939 and
was assigned to the Moultrie Packers of the Georgia-Florida
League. He had a 5-11 won-loss record his rookie year and joined
Miami Beach of the Florida East Coast League in 1940 where he
was 18-10 with a league-leading 1.63 ERA and circuit-best five
shutouts. In 1942, Bearden was 17-7 with
Bearden entered service with the Navy in 1942. He was at Great Lakes NTS and attended machinist school prior to being assigned to the engine room of the light cruiser USS Helena (CL-50).
During the battle of
Bearden’s right kneecap was crushed beyond repair, the ligaments in his leg were badly twisted and his skull had been fractured. An aluminum cap and screw was placed in his leg and another plate in his head. He remained in hospital until receiving a medical discharge in early 1945.
|USS Helena (CL-50)|
He reported to
Unable to repeat his
previous performance, Bearden slumped to 8-8 in 1949 and was 1-3
when the Indians traded him to
Bearden was back in the
Pacific Coast League in 1954, pitching for
"I don't know what happened." Bearden said back in 1967 while trying to explain his one year phenom. "Maybe Casey Stengel was right when he said they'd stop swinging at my low pitch. But there's no use looking back. You can't live in the past."
He later worked as
manager for the
Gene Bearden passed away on March 18, 2004 in Alexander City, Alabama. He was 83.
Thanks to Ken Sulik and Walter Kephart for help with this biography.
Created May 28, 2008.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.