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Walt Hemperly

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: January 22, 1919 Lancaster, PA
Date and Place of Death:    November 5, 2006 Lititz, PA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Infield
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: 200th Field Artillery Battalion US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

John W. "Walt" Hemperly, Jr., was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1919. He was playing baseball with the Lancaster Athletics of the city league when he was signed by Philadelphia Athletics' scout Ira Thomas. Hemperly broke into professional baseball with the Allentown Fleetwings in 1939. Earning $150 a month, the scrappy shortstop hit .245 in 62 games. The following season Hemperly played for no fewer than five teams and finished the year with Allentown of the Canadian-American League. He received his draft call on April 4, 1941, and took basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. "I didn't want to go," he admitted. "I wasn't an Army person. I wanted to pursue my baseball career."

Hemperly was assigned to the 200th Field Artillery Battalion and continued his baseball activities in England. He played third base for the U.S. Army in the all-professional game at Wembley in 1943, and offered the only threat to Air Force pitcher Bill Brech's no-hitter when he hit a 400-foot shot to left field that just tailed foul.

The 200th Field Artillery was in combat in Europe for 11 months from June 9, 1944. Hemperly was wounded in Germany on April 4, 1945. A compound fracture to his left leg ended the promising young infielder's career. "It was four years to the day that I went into service," he recalled. "I spent the next year in various hospitals."

Hemperly worked for 43 years for the U.S. Postal Service. "I was given a lifetime gold pass to all major league and minor league ball parks because I was not able to return to baseball."

Walt Hemperly passed away on November 5, 2006, in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Walt hemperly, ballplayer, wounded veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, passed away on November 5, 2006, in Lititz, Pennsylvania, aged 87.

Date Added December 15, 2017

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