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Bob Hershey

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 14, 1915 Turtle Creek, PA
Date and Place of Death:    July 31, 1943 NAS Trinidad, Caribbean Islands
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: First Base
Rank: Lieutenant (jg)
Military Unit: VP-204 US Navy
Area Served: Caribbean

Robert K. Hershey, the son of Mrs. Margaret Reiter Hershey, was born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania on August 14, 1915, and grew up in nearby Penn Hills. He attended Union High School, where he played three years of baseball and football, and was co-captain of the football team his senior year. Following graduation, he enrolled at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and played freshman football.

In 1938, Hershey signed with the Cleveland Indians’ organization and the left-handed hitting first baseman batted .343 in 108 games with 18 home runs and 108 RBIs his rookie season with the Logan Indians of the Class D Mountain State League.

During the off-season he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh and was the standout baseball player at the school although he was unable to play for Ralph Mitterling's Panther squad because of his previous professional experience.

In 1939, Hershey was back in pro baseball and hit .308 with 28 doubles and 14 home runs for the Springfield Indians of the Class C Middle Atlantic League, and progressed to Class B baseball with the Cedar Rapids Raiders of the Three-I League in 1940. Hershey continued to hit well and in 126 games with the Raiders he batted .318 with 15 home runs. He also hit 30 doubles and nine triples, and his 99 RBIs was third best in the league, helping the Raiders to the league championship.

In 1941, a season in which the Three-I League was dominated by a young left-handed pitcher named Warren Spahn, Hershey batted .313 in 120 games with 11 home runs and a circuit second-best 100 RBIs as the Raiders clinched their second successive league championship.

Hershey, who had a minor league career average of .320 over four seasons and had a chance of becoming Cleveland’s next first baseman, enlisted in the Navy in September 1941. He trained as an aviation cadet at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and received his wings in August 1942.

As a lieutenant junior grade, he served in the Caribbean with VP-204, flying out of NAS Trinidad. During the night of July 30/31, 1943, Bob Hershey was the third pilot aboard a Martin PBM-3S Mariner twin-engined flying boat that located a Japanese submarine on radar. Dropping flares as it made an approach to depth charge the sub, the Mariner was hit by 30 caliber machine-gun fire. One bullet passed through the waist hatch and mortally wounded Bob Hershey. The pilot, Lt. L.D. Crockett decided to return to base in an attempt to save Hershey. The 420-mile journey took a little over two hours and Bob Hershey died just after they reached NAS Trinidad.

Bob Hershey is buried at Plum Creek Cemetery in Plum, Pennsylvania.

Year

Team

League

Class

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

1938
Logan Mountain State D 108 405 85 139 29 10 18 108 .343

1939

Springfield Mid-Atlantic C 124 439 77 135 30 5 14 85 .308

1940

Cedar Rapids Three-I B 126 469 89 149 30 9 15 99 .318

1941

Cedar Rapids Three-I B 120 448 93 140 25 10 11 100 .313

 

Martin Mariner

A Martin PBM-3S Mariner. The type Bob Hershey was aboard as third pilot when he was hit by machine-gun fire from a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1943.

Source
http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-406VP-204ASW-6Report.htm

Date Added January 31, 2012 Updated July 21, 2016

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