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Bill Sweiger

 

Date and Place of Birth: May 20, 1924 in Baltimore, MD
Date and Place of Death:    October 4, 1951 Chorwon, North Korea
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division US Army
Area Served: Pacific and Korea

Bill Sweiger served with the US Army in both World War II and the Korean War. He left his big league dreams on a Korean battlefield in 1951.

Carroll W. "Bill" Sweiger was born on May 20, 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Carroll J. and Regina Sweiger. Bill attended Towson Catholic High School and City College in Baltimore, and was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1943.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound righthander joined the York White Roses of the Class B Interstate League but made just six appearances (1-2 over 21 innings) before being called to military service. Assigned to a US Army infantry division, Sweiger was plucked from the ranks and sent to officer's candidate school to be commissioned. During the occupation of Japan he pitched on a service team with major leaguers Dee Phillips, Hal Wagner and Milo Candini.

After missing three seasons through military service, Sweiger returned to organised baseball in 1947. He was back with the White Roses and made 29 appearances for an 11-13 record, 3.19 ERA and struck out 124. On May 15, he allowed just three hits in a 4-1 victory over Harrisburg, ending the Senators' six-game winning streak.

In 1948 he advanced to Triple-A ball with the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association, but after two ineffective appearances he was acquired on option by the New Orleans Pelicans of the Class AA Southern Association in early May. There is no indication that he ever pitched for the Pelicans.

In 1949, the 25-year-old started the year with the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League but after an 0-3 record in six appearances he was assigned to the Yakima Bears of the Class B Western International League, where he was 11-2 in 16 games. In 1950, Sweiger pitched for the Richmond Colts of the Class B Piedmont League, making 31 appearances for a 10-16 record and 3.57 ERA.

Military service interrupted his career for the second time following the 1950 season. As a First Lieutenant he was assigned to the 5th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea. On October 4, 1951, when his unit was pinned to the ground with machine gun fire in the Chorwon area, 1st Lt. Sweiger charged the enemy position at the cost of his life. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for heroism.

Bill Sweiger, who was survived by his parents and siblings, Tom and Jean, is buried at New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.

Sources
Morning Herald, May 16, 1947
San Antonio Light, May 9, 1948
Walla Walla Union Bulletin, June 7, 1949
Baltimore Sun, October 14, 1991
www.baseball-reference.com
www.findagrave.com

Date Added February 20, 2013

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