Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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World War II Hero of the Minor Leagues 

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Purple HeartJoe Damato


Date and Place of Birth: Unknown

Baseball Experience: Minor League
Military Unit:
401st Glider Infantry Regiment US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations


Joe Damato signed a professional contract with Janesville of the Wisconsin State League in 1941. Playing second base, third base and the outfield, Damatao batted just .228 in 94 games. The following year, still with Janesville, he turned things around and hit .318 in 107 games with nine home runs and 65 RBIs. He also stole 25 bases.

Damato's career was put on hold at the end of 1942 as military service beckoned. He served in Europe with the 401st Glider Infantry Regiment and was wounded at Bastogne and taken prisoner. Sergeant Damato spent the remainder of the war at Stalag 12a.

He returned home in late 1945 and resumed his playing career with Hutchinson of the Western Association, batting .324 with 85 RBIs. He was with Des Moines of the Western League in 1947 and advanced to Nashville of the Southern Association in 1948. Damato was batting .280 for the Vols when he suffered a broke hand as the result of being hit by a pitch on August 3.

Damato was back with Nashville in 1949 and remained with the club until 1951. He was with Oklahoma City of the Texas League from 1952 to 1955.Minor League Baseball

Created March 28, 2008.


Copyright © 2015 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.