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Jim Ferguson

 

Date and Place of Birth: April 26, 1931 Seattle, WA
Date and Place of Death:    June 17, 1952 Kumsong, Korea
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Corporal
Military Unit: Company E, 2nd Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: Korea

James T. Ferguson and his twin sister, Joan, were born in Seattle, Washington on April 26, 1931. The son of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Ferguson, he attended West Seattle High School where he was outstanding in baseball and football, and all-city in basketball. Ferguson graduated in 1950 and was signed by New York Giants’ scout Dutch Reuther on June 11th of that year. He was originally assigned to the Idaho Falls Russets of the Class C Pioneer League but did not play and joined the Lawton Giants of the Class D Sooner State League. Under the watchful eye of former major league infielder Louis Brower, the 6-foot-6, 195-pound, right-hander made five appearances for the Giants. What may well have been his professional debut on July 2, was a humiliating 32-9 loss to the Ada Herefords, in which Ferguson was ejected from the game with two out in the first inning for arguing with the plate umpire. He also made a relief appearance against the Chickasha Chiefs on July 18, a complete game loss against Chickasha on July 23 and hurled the first inning of a 34-16 revenge win over Ada on August 30. Whilst exact pitching records for Ferguson are unavailable, I estimate he finished the year with a 0-2 won-loss record.

Ferguson was due to report to the Idaho Falls Russets for spring training in 1951, but was called for military service on January 18. Assigned by the army to Fort Lawton, near his home in Seattle, he pitched the camp baseball team to 16 straight victories during the summer.

Ferguson arrived in Korea in October 1951 and served with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment of the 40th Infantry Division. On June 17, 1952, only three weeks before he was to have been rotated home, Corporal Ferguson was with a patrol in Kumsong that was ambushed by North Korean forces. He was listed as Missing in Action and presumed dead on January 27, 1954. The 21-year-old’s remains were never recovered.

On May 8, 1954, Colonel Bernard A. Tormey, commanding officer at Fort Lawton, presented James W. Ferguson with his son’s Silver Star for extreme gallantry. Ferguson was also awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. James Ferguson’s name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

Sources:
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin – June 18, 1950
Ada Evening News – July 3, 1950
Ada Evening News – July 19, 1950
Ada Evening News – July 24, 1950
Ada Evening News – August 31, 1950
Idaho Falls Post-Register – March 25, 1951
Idaho Falls Post-Register – March 26, 1951
Seattle Times – February 10, 1954
Seattle Times – May 9, 1954
www.abmc.gov
www.baseball-reference.com
www.koreanwar-educator.org

Thanks to Jim Wheeler for discovering Jim Ferguson's story and Ray Nemec for identifying his minor league affiliation.

Date Added: December 20, 2012

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