Three MLB players connected to Philadelphia to remember this Memorial Day Weekend

Eddie Grant is connected to Philadelphia
Philadelphia is rich in baseball tradition, so it's appropriate that the Phillies and Athletics have a strong association with United States military.

With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, here's a look at three former ballplayers with connections to Philadelphia that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms today.

Eddie Grant: A Harvard grad, the Phillies purchased his contract from the Jersey City of the Eastern League in August 1906. He went on to spend four years with the club and became recognized for his speed on basepaths and a notable glove at third base. His best season in Philadelphia came in 1910 when he hit .268 while driving in 68 runs and stealing 25 bases.

The Phillies traded Grant following the 1910 season to Cincinnati. He retired from baseball in 1915 and enlisted in April 1917, serving as a captain in the 77th Infantry Division. A little more than a year later he was killed by an exploding shell in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Grant was the first Major League Baseball player killed in action in World War I.

Ralph Sharman: Signed by Connie Mack and the Athletics late in the 1917 season, Sharman played in 13 games while hitting .297 with a pair of doubles, a stolen base, and three walks. He also drove in two runs.

He enlisted in the Army following the 1917 season and drowned while swimming in the Alabama River during training at Camp Sheridan, Alabama in May 1918.

Harry O'Neill: A Philadelphia native and outstanding athlete at Darby High School, O'Neill inked a deal with Mack and the Athletics in June 1939. Rather than open his professional career in the minors, Mack allowed O'Neill to remain with the A's as a third-string catcher. He appeared in only one game, entering as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of a 16-3 blowout at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.

O'Neill remained active in the local sports scene, but never again reached the Majors. He enlisted with the Marines Corp in September 1942 and rose up the ranks to First Lieutenant of the 4th Marine Division. He eventually reached Iwo Jima but was killed on March 6, 1945, by sniper fire.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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