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Place of Birth:
September 12, 1907 Commerce, Georgia
January 9, 1990 South Pasadena, Florida
65th Infantry Division
Major League Stats:
Spud Chandler on Baseball-Almanac
Spurgeon F “Spud”
was born on September 12, 1907 in
where he was a four-year baseball and three-year football varsity
athlete, pitching and playing halfback.
with the New York Yankees in 1932, and played with
in 1932. Working his way through the Yankees farm system, he had
stops at Newark, Minneapolis, Syracuse, Oakland and Portland before making it
to the major league club at the age of 29 in 1937.
had an excellent 1938 season with a 14-5 record, but through
relentlessly pushing himself on every pitch he suffered a sore arm
and made only eleven appearances in 1939, all in relief. He then
made a steady comeback winning eight games in 1940, 10 in 1941, 16
in 1942 and then having a career-year in 1943 with an exceptional
20-4 record and 1.64 ERA to earn the MVP Award.
pitched just one game in 1944 before he was called to military
service with the Army. Initially based at the
Fort McPherson Reception
Georgia, Private Chandler was soon assigned to
the Headquarters Company of the 65th Infantry Division at
|Spud Chandler at
Camp Shelby in 1944
On June 10, 1944, Chandler
was given an emergency furlough from Camp
Shelby to visit his wife in St Petersburg,
Florida, following the death of their
newborn son. The child had survived only a few hours following a
While in the
hoped he would get the opportunity to play baseball on a daily
basis. “But the Army isn’t run that way,” he told The
Sporting News on September 14, 1944. “If they’d wanted me to be a
pitcher, they would have had me stay with the Yankees. I’m proud now
that I was assigned to an infantry unit as a soldier, because I now
realize the importance of my job. And it’s a hard job, too. I’ve had
to learn to fire more types of weapons than I ever knew existed.”
did, however, find time to pitch a few games for the Special Troops
team in the Camp Shelby League.
On September 9, 1944, a presentation was made by
Major General Stanley E Reinhart at
Shelby in recognition of
his selection by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as the
American League’s Most Valuable Player of 1943. General Reinhart
presented Private Chandler with an engraved watch.
Chandler was based
at Moore General
Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina
in 1945, where he had an n opportunity to pitch for the hospital
ball team. On August 3, 1945, for example, he defeated the
Appalachian League all-star team.
was discharged in September 1945, and was back in Yankees pinstripes
within days. On September 9, an astonishing crowd of 72,152, turned
out to watch Chandler against Bob
Feller in the first game of a Sunday double-header. Feller was in
fine form, winning 10-3, while Chandler
was a long way from being ready but the
crowd was happy to have their MVP hurler back.
came back in style in 1946 despite being 38 years old. He was 20-8
with a 2.10 ERA and was selected to the American League all-star
team for the third time. Then arm problems came back and he dropped
to 9-5 in 1947 in 17 games. He underwent surgery to remove bone
chips from his elbow at the end of the season but the magic had gone
and the Yankees gave him his unconditional release after spring
training in 1948.
continued to work for the Yankees organization as a scout and then a
minor league manager. In later years he scouted for
Cleveland and Minnesota,
before retiring to St
Florida in 1985.
was in good health until a fall in September 1989, when he suffered
a fractured shoulder. Complications set in and he died of heart
failure at South Pasadena,
on January 9, 1990.
Created February 15, 2008.
Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.