Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Purple HeartHowie Krist


Date and Place of Birth: February 28, 1916 West Henrietta, New York

Died: April 23, 1989 Buffalo, New York
Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit: US

Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Howard W “Howie” Krist was born on February 28, 1916 in West Henrietta, New York. An outstanding pitcher whose career was hampered by a series of injuries, Krist signed with the St Louis Cardinals in 1935 and played for the Bloomington Bloomers of the Three-I where he was 10-9.

Destined to pitch for Rochester of the International League in 1936, he was sidelined by appendicitis in the spring and later joined Columbus of the South Atlantic League where he was 20-9 with a 2.91 ERA.

Krist was 13-15 with Rochester in 1937 and joined the Cardinals in September making six appearances for a 3-1 record and 4.23 ERA. Kellner suffered influenza during spring training 1938 and was returned to Rochester in May, where he developed a sore arm, then fractured an ankle. He underwent surgery in 1939 to remove bone chips and came back with Houston of the Texas League in 1940 with a 22-9 record and incredible 1.71 ERA.

Krist was back with the Cardinals in 1941 and was an effective relief pitcher for the next three seasons, pitching over 30 games and winning 10 each year. In 1943, he made a brief appearance in the World Series against the Yankees.

On April 15, 1944, Krist entered military service with the Army. He was in France before the end of the year and suffered a neck injury while diving into a fox hole. He also badly injured his leg while carrying ammunition and spent much of 1945 in a hospital in England. Krist returned to the United States with a Purple Heart in late 1945 and was discharged from Camp Patrick Henry in January 1946. But just days later he suffered a fractured jaw when the front tire blew on his car and struck a culvert five miles east of Wellsville, New York. His wife suffered a bruised back and cuts, and their four year-old daughter suffered a sprained right knee.

Back with the Cardinals in 1946 he was 0-2 in 15 relief appearances and pitched for Rochester in 1947 before retiring from the game. Krist finished with a 37-11 major league won-loss record.

Howie Krist passed away following a long illness on April 23, 1989 in Buffalo, New York. He was 73.

Created June 14, 2008.

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