Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Russ Meyer


Date and Place of Birth: October 25, 1923 Peru, Illinois

Died: November 16, 1997 Ogelsby, Illinois

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: US Army

Area Served: United States


Russell C “Russ” Meyer was born in Peru, Illinois on October 25, 1923. He pitched Peru to the finals of the 1941 National Baseball Congress championship and gave up his senior year in high school to sign with the Chicago White Sox. Meyer played with the Superior Blues in the Northern League for one season before entering military service at the end of 1942.


Meyer served with the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. While pitching for the base team against the St Louis Browns in 1943, Meyer suffered a ruptured appendix. Peritonitis set in and he spent 13 weeks in hospital and lost 35 pounds. He received a medical discharge in 1943 and was told by Army physicians not to play ball for at least two years.

The White Sox had failed to place Meyer on the national defense list. This made him a free agent when he returned from service and he signed with the Chicago Cubs. In 1944 he was pitching for the Nashville Vols in the Southern Association, and he made his major league debut with the Cubs at the tail end of 1946.

Meyer played 13 years in the major leagues and won a career-high 17 games with the Phillies in 1949. He attended Western State College, Illinois, between seasons.

Meyer retired from baseball in 1959 and became part-owner of a bowling alley in Gary, Indiana. He later coached baseball at Illinois Valley Community College in LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, and served 12 years as a pitching coach in the Yankees' organization.

Russ Meyer passed away on November 16, 1997, in Ogelsby, Illinois. He was 74 years old. 

Created May 26, 2007.


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