Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


Jim Delsing


Date and Place of Birth: November 13, 1925 Rudolph, Wisconsin

Died: May 4, 2006 Chesterfield, Missouri
Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit:
95th Evacuation Hospital, Army Medical Corps US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Major League Stats: Jim Delsing on Baseball-Almanac


James H “Jim” Delsing was born on November 13, 1925 in Rudolph, Wisconsin, but grew up in Wisconsin Rapids. He began his professional career as a 16-year-old shortstop with Green Bay of the Wisconsin State League in 1942.


He was shifted to the outfield the following year and batted .312 with 69 RBIs for Lockport of the PONY League. His career was then put on hold for the duration.


"Uncle Sam called me up," he recalled in the Spring 2006 edition of Pop Flies - the official newsletter of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society, "I went into the service on the opening day of the 1944 season. I went into the Army and was in the medical corps. I went into the European Theater of Operations, landing there right after the Bulge. I spent 1944 and '45 in the service, picked up a few battle stars and that was it." He was assigned to the 95th Evacuation Hospital of the Army Medical Corps and served in France and Germany.


Delsing was honourably discharged in the spring of 1946 and was sent to Eau Claire of the Northern League. He was batting .377 with 61 RBIs when Milwaukee of the American Association called him up in August.


The youngster’s contract was purchased by the Chicago White Sox at the end of the year. He hit well in spring training at Pasadena, California but the White Sox sent him to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League for more seasoning.


Delsing batted .316 with Hollywood and made his major league debut for the White Sox on April 21, 1948. A slow start prompted a return to Hollywood where he hit .333 but was traded to the Yankees for Steve Souchock.


Delsing spent most of 1949 with Kansas City of the American Association, although he did bat .350 in nine games wearing the Yankee pinstripes. In June 1950, Delsing was traded to the St Louis Browns, giving him his first opportunity to play regularly. He appeared in 69 games for the Browns and batted .263.


In 1951, he played 131 games for the Browns and produced a .249 batting average and 45 RBIs. Perhaps his most memorable moment occurred on August 19, when Eddie Gaedel, a 65-pound midget who was 3-foot-7, made his first and only plate appearance as a pinch hitter for the St Louis Browns. Gaedel was walked on four pitches by Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Bob Cain and then was taken out for pinch runner Jim Delsing. The gimmick by Browns’ owner Bill Veeck was legal, but later outlawed.


In August 1952, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers where he remained until May 1956. Delsing produced his best numbers with the Tigers and in 1953 he batted .288 with 62 RBIs and 11 home runs in 138 games.


He was traded to the White Sox in 1956 and returned to the minor leagues the following year. Between 1957 and 1960, Delsing played for Indianapolis, Charleston, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth in the American Association. He briefly returned to the major leagues in 1960 with Kansas City, appearing in 16 games and batting .250.


Jim Delsing passed away on May 4, 2006 in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was 80.


Created January 6, 2008. Updated January 3, 2015

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