Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Buddy Lively


Date and Place of Birth: February 14, 1925 Birmingham, Alabama

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: 597th Anti-Aircraft (Automatic Weapons) Battalion US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations


Everett A “Buddy” Lively was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 14, 1925. His father, Jack Lively, had pitched for the Tigers in 1911, and Buddy was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1942. He pitched for Montgomery in the Southeastern League and Salem-Roanoke in the Virginia League his first year, and was with the Birmingham Barons in the Southern Association in 1943.


Lively entered military service with the Army at the beginning of 1944. He took basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and was transported to Europe, on the Queen Mary on December 17, 1944. He arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on December 17 and soon crossed the Channel to France. Lively, as part of the 597th Anti-Aircraft (Automatic Weapons) Battalion, advanced through France, Belgium and Holland with General Patton's Third Army. His three-gun battery was subsequently assigned to the British 2nd Army and as a result he missed the Battle of the Bulge. "I figure being attached to the British might've saved my life," Lively told John Pruett of the Huntsville Times in 1997.

Lively was in Munich when the war in Europe ended. He and his GI buddies played baseball in Berchtesgaden, the site of Hitler's "Eagles Nest" fortress in the Bavarian mountains. "We had fresh eggs,” he told Pruett, “a nice hotel, clean sheets, good food and a brewery nearby,"

After two years in military service, he returned home in June 1946 and was signed by the Cincinnati Reds for $5,000. On April 17, 1947, the right-hander made his major league debut against the St Louis Cardinals. On July 14, 1947, starting against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Lively retired the first five batters he faced. Pee Wee Reese then drew a walk and Spider Jorgensen doubled to score Reese. Lively retired the next 22 batters in a row, and the Reds won 9-1. He was 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA for the year.

In 1948, he made 10 appearances with a 2.38 ERA for the Reds. In 1949, he made 31 mound appearances and posted a 4-6 won-loss record with a 3.92 ERA.

In the winter of 1949, he underwent an operation to remove a bone spur beneath his right shoulder blade. He never returned to the majors and after a year out of  he pitched for Sherman-Denison in the Big State League  in 1951. Lively was with Shreveport in the Texas League in 1952 and 1953, joining Jacksonville in the South Atlantic League at the end of the season. He began 1954 with Jacksonville and was also with Augusta of the same league that year. Lively finished his career with Columbus in the International League in 1955, aged 30.

In 1960, Lively went to work for the procurement office at NASA, where he worked until his retirement in 1984.

Thanks to John Pruett of the Huntsville Times for help with this biography.

Created May 26, 2007.


Copyright © 2007 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.