Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Minor League Baseball

Larry Powell


Date and Place of Birth: July 14, 1914 Dinuba, California

Died: May 23, 2008 Reedley, California

Baseball Experience: Minor League
Military Unit:
689th Field Artillery Battalion US Army

Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Lawrence M “Larry” Powell was born on July 14, 1914 in Dinuba, California. After graduating from high school, he helped run his family farm until getting a tryout with the San Francisco Seals in 1937. Powell was assigned to Tucson of the Arizona-Texas League his rookie year where he had a 14-6 record and 2.56 ERA.

In 1938, the left-hander pitched for Tacoma of the Western International League and was 14-10. 1939 saw Powell with San Francisco where he was 12-11 and he posted a 12-7 record for the Seals in 1940.

In November 1939, Powell and Dom DiMaggio were sold to the Boston Red Sox. While DiMaggio made his debut with the major league club, Powell spent the season with Louisville of the American Association and San Diego of the PCL.

He entered military service on July 9, 1941 and served as a first-sergeant with the 689th Field Artillery Battalion. In July 1944, the 689th Battalion was deployed to the United Kingdom, then in August 1944 to Normandy, France, landing at Utah Beach on August 20. The 689th Battalion was assigned to the 195th Field Artillery Group of the Third Army under the command of General George S Patton. Powell was with the 689th Battalion and their 155 mm howitzers from the breakout from Normandy through VE Day.

Powell was back with the San Francisco Seals after being discharged from the Army at the end of 1945, and the Seals assigned him to Salt Lake City of Pioneer League where he was 6-5 with a 2.46 ERA. He pitched for Visalia of the California League in 1947 and 1948, joining Yakima of the Western International League in 1949. That year was to be his best post-war campaign and as he posted a 16-7 record and 3.42 ERA.

Powell continued to pitch in the minor leagues until 1954 then spent the rest of his working years farming. He was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Reedley High School Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Larry Powell passed away on May 23, 2008 in Reedley, California. He was 93.

Thanks to Jack Morris for help with this biography.

Created May 30, 2008.

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