Date and Place of Birth: January 24, 1917 San Francisco, California
Died: July 12, 1971 Glendale, California
Military Unit: US Army Air Force
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations
Walt Judnich is a prime example of a player who was at the top of his game before military service, only to find his skills were diminished when he returned.
Walter F “Walt” Judnich was born on January 24,
He played for
As the Browns centerfielder, Judnich had his best
offensive season in 1942, when he batted .313 and drove in 82 runs.
At 25, he was at the height of his game, but military service
beckoned on March 3, 1943.
Judnich was stationed at McClellan Field with the Army Air Force and was a star player for the McClellan Field Commanders ball team in the Central California Servicemen's League.
On June 5, 1943, Judnich played for the Army all-stars in an Army-Navy benefit game at Seals Stadium,
By October 1943, Judnich had qualified as a marksman and had been promoted to corporal. "Although Army life is altogether different from training in a baseball camp, I believe I am gradually getting 'on the beam' as a soldier,” he told The Sporting News on October 21. “I can truthfully say that I like Army life. As far as making a career out of it is concerned, that is something else. I plan to continue in baseball after the war is won."
Along with Joe DiMaggio, Judnich was assigned to
Hickam Field in
He played in the Army-Navy World Series in
September 1944, was with the Bellows Field Flyers team in
Judnich was discharged from military service at
Judnich played in the Pacific Coast League during
the 1950s with
Walt Judnich was just 54 when he passed away from
liver failure on July 12, 1971, in
Created February 15, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.