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Len Hollywood

 

Date and Place of Birth: December 1894, Alameda, CA
Date and Place of Death:    November 3, 1918 France
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Third Base
Rank: Corporal
Military Unit: 161st Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division AEF
Area Served: AEF - France

“At Lincoln Park in Alameda and on the baseball lots of the Pacific Coast and Trolley leagues, fans saw Leonard Hollywood . . . step in front of some fast drives and stop them with grace and precision. But no more will the lad step in front of fast ones, for Somewhere Overthere he got in front of one too fast for him to handle, and was carried across the ‘great highway.’”
Oakland Tribune January 9, 1919

Leonard B. “Len” Hollywood, the son of Charles and Hattie Hollywood, was born in East Oakland, California, but grew up in Alameda. He was a star athlete in high school and in 1916 he was signed by the Detroit Tigers. Harry Wolverton, manager of the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals obtained permission from the Tigers to use him and slotted him into the squad in four games.

At the end of the Pacific Coast League season, Hollywood joined Fred Krumb’s Alameda team in the East Bay Cities Winter League. The young third baseman was the sensation of the league and helped Krumb’s club clinch the pennant that year. “The Isle City boy has been playing an excellent brand of ball for his team,” announced the Oakland Tribune on February 11, 1917, “his hitting and base running . . . won many a game for Alameda, and his fielding was of big league fashion.”

Hollywood was back with the Seals for spring training in March 1917. On March 17, playing shortstop and batting seventh in a exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs, Hollywood had three clean singles. He also perfectly handled 10 chances in the field, stole a base and scored a run in the Seals’ 3-2 victory.

Playing alongside such future major leaguers as Lefty O’Doul, George Maisel, Rudy Kallio and Red Oldham, he appeared in 23 regular season games at shortstop for the Seals in 1917 and batted .224. A mid-season knee injury slowed him down. In October, as soon as the PCL season ended, Hollywood rejoined Krumb’s Alameda team in the East Bay Cities Winter League.

His last ballgame for Alameda was on October 21, 1917, playing third base in an 8-5 win against the Halcyon Parlor of Native Sons.

In November 1917, Hollywood left Alameda to join the Army at Camp Lewis in American Lake, Washington. A month later he was in France with Company H of the 161st Infantry. The 161st was not committed to combat. Rather, its personnel were used as replacements for other units. It was in this capacity (with Company A, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division) that Corporal Leonard Hollywood was killed in action on the battlefields of France on November 3, 1918. But nobody back home knew this. With the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918, it was believed he was safe and his parents were in possession of a letter he had written home dated October 20. In fact, it was not until a telegram from the War Department was received by his parents in January 1919, that news of his death reached the Alameda community.

The first the Detroit Tigers heard of his passing was in February 1919, when his unopened contract was returned by his parents to Frank C. Navin, president of the Tigers, with "Killed in action Nov. 3, 1918," written on the back of the envelope.

Len Hollywood is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Sources
Oakland Tribune
Marshall News-Statesman
http://www.25thida.org

Date Added January 28, 2012 Updated July 15, 2013

 

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