Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Sibby Sisti


Date and Place of Birth: July 26, 1920 Buffalo, New York

Died: April 24, 2006 Amherst, New York
Baseball Experience: Major League
Military Unit: US
Coast Guard

Area Served: United States

Sebastian D “Sibby” Sisti was born on July 26, 1920 in Buffalo, New York. An outstanding athlete he played baseball, basketball and football at Canisius High School in Buffalo, where he was named Athlete of the Decade.

Sisti was signed by the Boston Braves when he was 17 and started in organized baseball as a third baseman with Hartford of the eastern League in 1938, where he batted .293 in 82 games. Switching to second base in 1939, Sisti got off to a great start with Hartford and was batting .312 when he was called up by Boston in July. He made his major league debut as the youngest player in the National League on July 29 and played 63 games as a utility infielder batting .228.

In 1940, he played 123 games and batted .251, remaining with the Braves as a regular until entering military service with the Coast Guard on December 11, 1942. Sisti served at the US Coast Guard Station in Seattle, Washington throughout the war and regularly played ball with the Repair Yard team that was managed by Marv Rickert and featured Bob Chesnes and John Leovich.

Sisti was discharged in October 1945 and returned to the Braves for spring training in 1946. "I've played several positions around the infield and in the outfield for the Braves and haven't any preference just as long as I'm in there somewhere," he said at the time. As it turned out Sisti played just one game with Boston and spent the season with Indianapolis of the American Association where he batted .343 with 86 RBIs and was named The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year.

He was back with the Braves in 1947 and continued his utility role with Boston through 1952 and then for the next two years after the club moved to Milwaukee. He also helped the Braves to a pennant in 1948, making two appearances in the World Series that year. Sisti was released by the Braves on June 1954 and spent a number of years in the minors as a coach and a manager. In seven years as a skipper, he won one pennant and one playoff. He served as a coach with the Seattle Pilots in 1969, back in the city where he had been with the Coast Guard during the war.

Sibby Sisti, a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame since 1994, passed away on April 24, 2006 in Amherst, New York. "He was one of the baseball greats from our community and he will be missed," said Mike Buczkowski, Vice President/General Manager of the Buffalo Bisons.

Created May 19, 2008.

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