Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


Walt Dropo

Date and Place of Birth: January 30, 1923 Moosup, Connecticut

Died: December 17, 2010 Peabody, MA

Baseball Experience: Major League
First Base

Military Unit: Army Corps of Engineers US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Major League Stats: Walt Dropo on Baseball-Almanac


Walt DropoWalter Dropo was born on January 30, 1923 in Moosup, Connecticut. He attendedPlainfield High School in Central Village, before attending the University ofConnecticut.
A promising baseball, basketball and football player, Dropo’s college career was interrupted by military service in November 1942. He was stationed at Fort Devens,Massachusetts, where he continued to be a star athlete with the Fort DevensReception Center teams. His teammates at that time included Skippy Roberge of the Boston Braves, George Yankowski of the Philadelphia Athletics, Bob Repass of the Washington Senators, Gene Czaplicki (a Cardinals farmhand), Bill Manning (a Cubs farmhand) and Joe Kwasnieski (a Red Sox farmhand). He was later stationed in Europe, rebuilding bridges with the Army Corps of Engineers in France, Italy and Germany. Dropo played baseball in Germany after the cease of hostilities and was honorably discharged in January 1946.

Dropo returned to the University of Connecticut. When he graduated in 1947 he was the school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball. Dropo was drafted in the first round of the 1947 BAA (Basketball Association of America) Draft by the Providence Steamrollers. He was also drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 9th round of the 1946 NFL Draft.

He turned down both, however, to sign with the Boston Red Sox and joined the Scranton Red Sox of the Class A Eastern League as a first baseman in 1947. Dropo batted .297 with 12 home runs his rookie year and joined the Birmingham Barons of the Class AA Southern Association in 1948. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander hit .357 with the barons and made his major league debut on Opening Day April 19, 1949 against the Philadelphia Athletics. He played just 11 games at the big league level that year before being sent to the Sacramento Solons of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.
He was back with the Red Sox in 1950 and was named American League Rookie of the Year as hit 34 home runs, batted .322 and drove in a league-leading 144 runs.
Dropo went on to enjoy a 13-year career in the major leagues although a fractured wrist suffered in 1951 meant he never returned to the form he showed in his rookie season. Nevertheless, Dropo played nearly 1,300 games and batted .270. In June 1952, after being traded to the Detroit Tigers, he collected 12 consecutive hits to tie a major league record.
After his playing career ended following the 1961 season, Drop became regional manager of an investment firm, and in 1972 he went to work for the family business, the Washington Fireworks Company, in Washington, D.C.
Walt Dropo passed away on December 17, 2010. He was 87.

Added December 23, 2010 Updated January 3, 2015

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