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Place of Birth:
November 22, 1916
Died: May 9, 1993 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Military Unit: US Army
Major League Stats:
Player on Baseball-Almanac
Thaddeus W “Ted” Cieslak
was born on November 22, 1916 in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. He played baseball at
Parochial School, then
joined an American Legion team and moved into the semi-pro ranks. In
1938, he was signed by a scout for the Chicago White Sox and joined
the Rayne Rice Birds of the Evangeline League.
Cieslak hit .269 his rookie year and batted .302
in 1939, earning promotion to
in the Texas League. It was while playing for Oklahoma City that he suffered a fractured
skull when he was hit by a pitch from Dizzy Trout. He spent three
days in hospital and sat out the final
Cieslak remained with
through 1941 and joined
– a Philadelphia Athletics’ farm team - of the Interstate League for
1942. Just a few days into the season – on May 12 1942 - Cieslak
entered military service with the Army at
Fort Dix, New Jersey.
He played baseball at Fort Dix
during 1942 and 1943, and was in charge of an Army gymnasium program
during the winter months. It was at this time he was struck in the
head again, this time by a medicine ball. Cieslak suffered from
severe headaches there afterwards and was sent to the base hospital
and examined by a psychiatrist.
"He asked me more crazy questions in three hours
than I thought were in the book," Cieslak recalled in 1944. "When it
was all over, I didn't know who was screwy, he or I. I guess they
must have thought it was me, for I went back to the hospital. I was
under observation for 27 days. Each morning someone came around to
ask me questions. The answers I gave must have convinced them that I
wouldn't be much help to the Army, for they handed me my release in
In the spring of 1944, Cieslak returned to Wilmington – the last club he had played for
before military service. The
team had been taken over by the Philadelphia Phillies and the parent
club needed a third baseman. Impressive in spring training, Cieslak
joined the Phillies and made his major league debut on opening day
April 18 against Brooklyn.
In his only season in the major leagues, Cieslak
played 85 games for the Phillies and batted .245. In 1945, he was
with Atlanta in the Southern Association and batted
.364 with 120 RBIs to earn MVP honors. He repeated as MVP in 1946
and again hit over .300 for
Cieslak joined Nashville
in 1948, and then played for
Fort Lauderdale of the Florida State League
during 1949 and 1950. He played in the Panama Winter League in
1950-51 and was, again, hit in the head during a pick-off attempt at
second base. Cieslak was placed under observation of the league
doctor for 10 days.
Ted Cieslak ended his playing career with Lakeland in the Florida State League in 1952.
He passed away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 9, 1993.
Created December 24, 2007. Updated January 11,
Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.