Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Nanny Fernandez


Date and Place of Birth: October 25, 1918 Wilmington, California

Died: September 16, 1996 Lomita, California

Baseball Experience: Major League
Shortstop-Third Base
Military Unit:
US Army Air Force

Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Major League Stats: Nanny Fernandez on Baseball-Almanac

Froilan “Nanny” Fernandez was born on October 25, 1918 in Wilmington, California. The 20-year-old shortstop signed with the Yakima Pippins of the Western International League in 1939 and batted .295 with 15 home runs and 79 RBIs.

In 1940, he was batting .345 with the Pippins when he was called up to the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. In 95 games with the Seals, Fernandez batted .304 and quickly replaced Harvey Storey as the team’s starting shortstop. In 1941, Fernandez led the league with a .327 average and 129 RBIs, 46 doubles and 16 triples. His 19 home runs was second best in the circuit and prompted his purchase by the Boston Braves in September.

Fernandez immediately took over the starting shortstop position and batted .255 in 145 games. His career was then put on hold when military service called on April 14, 1943. Fernandez served with the 6th Ferrying Group of Air Transport Command at Long Beach Army Air Base in California. He played based regularly and his teammates included Red Ruffing, Harry Danning and Max West. Fernandez hit in 44 straight games during 1943 and on August 26, 1944, he went 2-for-4 in a 16-6 win for the Servicemen All-Stars against the combined Pacific Coast League Los Angeles and Hollywood teams at Wrigley Field. Los Angeles.

Corporal Fernandez was sent to Hawaii in 1945 and then played with Lew Riggs’ 313th Bomb Wing Flyers during the 20th Air Force Pacific tour.

Fernandez returned from military service on January 10, 1946. He was back with the Braves that year and batted .255 (exactly the same average he had in 1942, his last season before military service) in 115 games as a backup to Dick Culler. In 1947, his average dropped to .206 and he was back in the minor leagues with Milwaukee of the American Association in 1948. 

The Braves sold Fernandez to the Dodgers in 1949 and he started the season with St Paul of the American Association. In May 1949, the Dodgers traded him to the Pirates and he joined Indianapolis where he earned MVP honors with a .312 average, 21 home runs and 128 RBIs.

Fernandez shifted to third base and made it back to the major leagues with the Pirates in 1950, playing 65 games as a backup to Stan Rojek. Fernandez was back with Indianapolis in 1951 and then played from 1952 to 1955 in the Pacific Coast League with Seattle and Sacramento.

Nanny Fernandez passed away on September 16, 1996 in Lomita, California. He was 77.

Created April 28, 2008.


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