Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering baseball's first casulty in World War I: Eddie Grant

Grant was the first major leaguer to die in action during World War I.
On an evening where we celebrate the sacrifice of so many veterans it's only fitting to mention the career of Eddie Grant.

Grant, following a major league career that spanned a decade, was the first player killed in action during World War I.

An infielder for most of his career, the Massachusetts native made his playing debut in 1905 with the Cleveland Naps. The Phillies purchased his contract during the summer of 1906 and he made his Philadelphia debut a year later.

Grant hit .258 over the next four seasons with the Phillies while holding down the starting role at third base. He led the league in plate appearances in 1909 (700) and led the league twice in at-bats. He finished his career in Philadelphia with a 78 OPS+.

The Phillies traded Grant to Cincinnati following the 1910 season and in 1913 he was shipped to the New York Giants. By 1915 he was out of baseball with a lifetime batting average of .249.

In the military, Grant served as a captain in the 77th infantry Division. He was killed following the Battle of the Argonne Forest while commanding troops in search of fellow soldiers held captive by the German Empire.

On Memorial Day, May 29, 1921, representatives from the armed forces, baseball, and Grant's family unveiled a monument in center field of the Polo Grounds to celebrate his sacrifice. A replica of the plaque now sits at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Along with Grant, seven other soldiers with major league experience perished in connection to World War I: Alexander "Tom" Bell, Harry Chapman, Larry Chappell, Harry Glenn, Newt Halliday, Ralph Sharman, and Robert Troy.
______________________________________________________

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

0 comments: