09 February 2007

A Life Full of Living

Hank Bauer 1932-2007

One month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hank Bauer enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. While in the South Pacific, Bauer contracted malaria, but recovered enough to earn 11 campaign ribbons, two Bronze Stars and a pair of Purple Hearts in 32 months of combat. His second injury came during the Battle of Okinawa, when he commanded a platoon of 64 men. Only six survived the brutal siege, with shrapnel hitting Bauer in the thigh and sending him home. Returning to East St. Louis, he joined the local pipe fitter's union and stopped by a local bar where his brother Joe worked. Danny Menendez, a New York Yankees scout, signed him for a tryout with the team's farm club in Quincy, IL. The terms: $175 a month (a $25 increase if he made the team) and a $250 bonus. Batting .300 at Quincy and with the team's top minor league unit, the Kansas City Blues, Bauer eventually made his debut with the Bronx Bombers in September 1948. He won the World Series with the New York Yankees seven times, and managed the Baltimore Orioles to another World Series championship in 1966.

No comments: