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Veteran's Day and Yankees who have served
8 months ago  ::  Nov 10, 2019 - 4:31PM #51
Posts: 15,683

Whitey Ford April, 1951 visiting Yankee Stadium

Whitey Ford Seated in Stands with Wife : News Photo

8 months ago  ::  Nov 10, 2019 - 4:37PM #52
Posts: 15,683

Alex Burr, the Yankee Who Gave His Life for Our Country

Alex Burr, the Yankee Who Gave His Life for Our Country

A player for the New York Yankees once died for America in a war. And, mostly likely, you've never heard of him.

November 1, 1893: Alexander Thomson Burr is born in Chicago. Usually listed as "Alex Burr" in baseball reference sources, but known as "Tom Burr" to his friends, he went east to attend the Choate prep school (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut, and became a star pitcher. He then attended Williams College in Williamstown, in the Berkshire Mountains, in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts, bordering the States of New York and Vermont.

He signed a pro contract before ever appearing in a college game, so he never played for Williams. But he didn't last long. Frank Chance, the legendary Chicago Cubs manager now struggling to lift the Yankees to success, was impressed with him in spring training, and brought him north with the club.

But Tom Burr appeared in exactly 1 major league game, on April 21, 1914, at the Polo Grounds, and not as a pitcher. He played center field for the New York Yankees -- not yet an exalted position. He only played in the field, in the 10th inning, had no fielding chances, and never came to bat -- a true "Moonlight Graham." The Yankees went on to beat the Washington Senators 3-2.

He was soon released, and never reached the majors again. He played 7 games for the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League. He went back to Williams, but when the U.S. got into World War I in April 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army without getting his degree, and became a pilot.

On October 12, 1918, just 1 month before the Armistice ended the war, Tom Burr was killed in action in a plane crash, in Cazaux, France. It was an accident: Rather than being shot down, another U.S. pilot crashed into him -- what became known as "friendly fire." His plane caught fire, and crashed into a lake. It took 12 days to find his body.

He wasn't quite 25 years old. He was 1 of 8 major league players killed in "The War to End All Wars." Another, former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Harry Glenn, died of pneumonia the same day as Burr. Only 1 other played for a New York team, former Giant 3rd baseman Eddie Grant.

For all their history, and for all their attention to it, the Yankees make no mention at Yankee Stadium of the one and only player from their ranks to have died in military service. This becomes all the more glaring when you remember how much longtime team owner George Steinbrenner, whose prep school was Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, pandered to patriotism and to our armed forces, down to the Monument to the 9/11 victims and rescuers in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

Where did The Boss go to college? Williams, also the alma mater of Tom Burr. You'd think he would have seen some kind of memorial there, and remembered it.

Alas, all the men and women who served in World War I are dead now -- of combat wounds, of wartime illness, of later shortcuts of life, of old age. Army Corporal Frank Buckles of Oakwood, Oklahoma was the last living American veteran of that conflict, dying on February 27, 2011, age 110. Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules of Britain's Royal Navy was the last combat veteran, dying on May 5, 2011, also 110. And Florence Green, of the Women's Royal Air Force, was the last veteran of any kind of that war, living until February 5, 2012, just short of turning 111.

On the 75th Anniversary of the Armistice, November 11, 1993, ABC News did a piece on it, and taped a French survivor, in his late 90s, visiting a military cemetery. France had suffered terribly, especially since most of the action on the Western Front was on their soil (and some of it in their airspace).

I can't remember the man's name, but he looked into the camera, held up a finger, and said something. The reporter covering it translated it as, "All should remember to never do this again."

There it is: The best way to honor your dead soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines is to not make any more of them.

8 months ago  ::  Nov 10, 2019 - 4:40PM #53
Posts: 15,683

Whitey Ford Army Photos

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8 months ago  ::  Nov 11, 2019 - 8:48AM #54
Posts: 25,074
As always good stuff Clipper... thanks for sharing.
And many thanks to those who have served.
8 months ago  ::  Nov 12, 2019 - 10:08AM #55
Posts: 7,015

Nov 11, 2019 -- 8:48AM, Lola wrote:

As always good stuff Clipper... thanks for sharing. And many thanks to those who have served.

 DITTO, Lola, I very much agree with your sentiments...your memorial threads are your best work...they always catch me by many good memories and recollections...I find myself rereading all of the previous posts as well...thanks again, Clipper

"...let it be known that as of this date in Major League Baseball history the one, truly honest single season home run record...61 in '61..."
8 months ago  ::  Nov 17, 2019 - 3:23PM #56
Posts: 15,683

Thanks Lola and 115 for the kind words.


8 months ago  ::  Nov 27, 2019 - 12:16AM #57
Posts: 2,598

Thank you, Clipper.  As you may know, I am Canadian, but I have relatives who are American and served in World War 2 and Vietnam.  Sadly, one of them was killed in the latter war.  His name is on the Vietnam Memorial.  His brother rose to the rank of Colonel, I believe, and still lives in South Carolina.  I feel fortunate that I am able to live life in a democracy that was preserved by the sacrifices made by veterans like the ones you mentioned. 

As an aside, you may know that early in World War 2 there was a combined unit of Canadians and Americans called the 1st Special Service Force (aka "The Devil's Brigade").  They were an elite commando unit who served in several theatres.  They won reknown in places like Italy, where the enemy referred to them as "The Black Devils", because of the fear they installed in them.  On their numerous night time forays behind enemy lines they might take prisoners, reconnoiter enemy positions or leave a note or two on their victims, living or dead, just to say something like, "We were here while you slept, but don't worry, we'll be back".  I believe there was a Hollywood film about their exploits as well.  Thanks again, nc


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