Date and Place of Birth: March 18, 1918 Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Died: December 15, 1992 Victoria, Texas
Military Unit: USAAF
Area Served: United States
Richard C Mulligan was born in Swoyersville, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1918. The left-handed knuckleball pitcher was with Trenton on the Interstate League when he was called up by the Washington Senators in 1941. Making his debut against the Boston Red Sox on September 24, 1941, Mulligan allowed 11 hits and was beaten 5-4. However, he held Ted Williams to one hit in four at-bats, lowering the Splendid Splinter’s average to a perilous .401.
Dandy Dick Mulligan entered military service with the Army Air Force in January 1942, and attended officer training, earning his pilot's wings at Foster Field in Victoria, Texas, where he had trained as a fighter pilot.
Mulligan played regularly with the Foster Field Falcons ball team. He also pitched for the Rapid Blue Printers in South Coast Victory League in Texas.
On August 9, 1945, the Falcons traveled to Childress Army Air Base in Texas for a ballgame. The Falcons won that contest and while Mulligan and some of the players travelled back to Foster Field by bus, five of the players – Chester Seipp, Lester Clotiaux, Duard Lawson, Harold Phillips and Pete Zarrilla, along with pilot Second Lieutenant Peter R Davis - flew back in a twin-engined airplane. On the journey the plane crashed near Smiley, Texas and burst into flames. All six men on board were killed.
Mulligan was discharged at the beginning of 1946. Now 28 years old and having missed four seasons, he went to spring training with the Phillies. Mulligan made 19 appearances for the Phillies – mostly in relief – posting a 2-2 record and a 4.77 ERA. His season was interrupted in June when he had to have infected tonsils removed at Temple University Hospital. As the season came to a close, Mulligan was released by Philadelphia and selected off waivers by the Boston Braves. He made four relief appearances for the Braves before the 1946 season ended.
In 1947, Mulligan sprained his knee during the Braves’ first workout in February. With the knee still not fully recovered by May, he was optioned to San Diego of the Pacific Coast League where it was hoped the warmer weather might help the injury.
Mulligan remained with San Diego until July, and on July 12, 1947, he made his pitching debut for the Hartford Chiefs in the Eastern League. He was the winning pitcher in that game but was not there at the end because he aggravated the knee injury sliding into home in sixth inning.
Mulligan was recalled by the Braves in September 1947, he did not pitch again, however, before the season ended and never returned to the major leagues. In 1948 he was sold to Dallas of the Texas League, and ended his baseball career pitching in the minors. Although he enjoyed some success as a pitcher with a semi-pro team in Victoria, Texas, during the early 1950s.
Dick Mulligan passed away on December 15, 1992. He was 74 years old and is buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Victoria, Texas.
Created March 14, 2007. Updated April 13, 2007.
Copyright © 2007 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.