|Date and Place of Birth:||Date Unknown Brooklyn, NY|
|Date and Place of Death:||February 15, 1898 Havana Harbor, Cuba|
|Military Unit:||US Navy|
John Merz was from Brooklyn, New York. During the latter part of the
19th Century he served as a Landsman aboard the USS Maine (ACR-1), the
United States Navy's second commissioned battleship.
Merz was the shortstop for the ships' baseball team, and in Florida in December 1897, the team defeated a team from the cruiser USS Marblehead, 18-3, to earn the title Navy baseball champions. Their next game was scheduled with an all-star squad in Havana, Cuba, and the Maine arrived in Havana Harbor in January.
On February 15, 1898, Marine Corps Fifer C.H. Newton, the ship’s bugler and the ball team’s third baseman, blew taps as the Maine bobbed listlessly in Havana Harbor. Shortly afterwards, the Maine blew up, killing 261 of the crew, including John Merz and all but the baseball team’s right fielder, John Bloomer.
Two months after the loss of the USS Maine, on April 25, 1898, saw the start of the Spanish-American War, during which the rallying cry, “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!” was frequently heard.
Date Added: February 25, 2013
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