Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Purple HeartBronze StarStan Lopata


Date and Place of Birth: September 12, 1925 Delray, Michigan
Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit:
14th Armored Division US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Stan LopataStanley E “Stan” Lopata was born on September 12, 1925 in Delray, Michigan where he excelled in baseball and basketball at Southwestern High School. Lopata was 18 years old when he entered military service with the Army in December 1943. Serving with the 14th Armored Division in Europe, Lopata was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart before being discharged in late 1945.

Eager for a career in professional baseball, the young catcher signed with Philadelphia Phillies in 1946 and batted .292 with Terre Haute of the Three-I League. He was with Utica of the Eastern League in 1947 where he helped the club to the league pennant batting .325, and advanced to Toronto of the International League in 1948 – just one step from the major leagues. Lopata batted .279 with Toronto and joined the Phillies for six games in September.

Lopata remained with the Phillies – primarily as a back-up catcher through 1958. His best season was 1956, when he played a career-high 146 games and batted .267 with 32 home runs and 95 RBIs, and was selected to the National League All-Star team for the second time.

In March 1959 the Phillies traded Lopata to the Milwaukee Braves where he played a further two seasons before retiring. He later worked as a salesman and then vice president for a concrete materials company in Philadelphia.

Created June 14, 2008.

Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.