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John Hrasch

 

Date and Place of Birth: December 28, 1928 Cleveland, OH
Date and Place of Death:    August 18, 1952 Ladysmith, VA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Shortstop
Rank: Private
Military Unit: US Army
Area Served: United States

College Baseball All-America John Hrasch has just started his professional career when military service beckoned. Tragedy was just around the next corner.

John Arthur Hrasch, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hrasch, was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 22, 1928.

He attended Ohio University at Athens, where he played baseball between 1948 and 1950. A slick fielding, right-handed hitting shortstop, Hrasch batted .399 his senior year (.403 over three seasons with the Bobcats, which remains second best), and was the first Bobcat to be named to the College Baseball All-America team as voted by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

It was the Pirates who scooped up the big league prospect; Farm Secretary Fred Hering proudly making the announcement that the young infielder had been signed by scout Bill Hinchman in June 1950.

On June 16, Hrasch reported to the Charleston Rebels of the Class A South Atlantic League, managed by former major leaguer Rip Sewell. However, he was quickly reassigned to the New Orleans Pelicans of the Class AA Southern Association, where he played 73 games and batted .221.

In 1951, Hrasch was back with the Pelicans, reunited with manager Rip Sewell who replaced Bill Burwell as the club’s skipper. Yet again, it was to be a brief encounter as Hrasch received orders to report for military duty on May 4. In 13 games, the 22-year-old was batting .319.

Private Hrasch was initially assigned to Fort Meade, where he regularly played baseball during the summer months. The following year he was assigned to the Medical Replacement Center at Camp Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia.

On August 18, 1952, Private John Hrasch and Second Lieutenant Ronald J. Hickey (a former basketball player at Boston University) were travelling in a car that was involved in a head-on collision with a truck near Ladysmith, Virginia. Both Hrasch (who had just received orders to report to Alaska) and Hickey were killed instantly. Floyd L. Plummer, the driver of the truck, was taken to Fredericksburg Hospital with injuries.

John Hrasch was buried at Highland Park Cemetery in Cleveland on August 23, 1952. He was 23 years old.

Sources
Zanesville Signal - March 30, 1950
Madison Capital Times – April 14, 1950
Lebanon Daily News – June 15, 1950
Altoona Mirror – June 17, 1950
Gulfport and Biloxi Daily Herald – March 28, 1951
Athens Messenger – April 14, 1952
Athens Messenger – May 21, 1952
Brooklyn Eagle – August 19, 1952
Sandusky Register-Star-News – August 20, 1952
Hamilton Journal – August 20, 1952
Boston College Magazine – Winter 2002
Ohio University Baseball Media Guide - 2012

Date Added September 29, 2012

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