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Turk Lown

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: May 30, 1924 Brooklyn, NY
Date and Place of Death:    July 8, 2016 Pueblo, CO
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Sergeant
Military Unit: 76th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Omar J. "Turk" Lown was born on May 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York. He was a prominent athlete at Franklin K. Lane High School in Cypress Hills, and played for the Ridgewood Bears in the Queens Alliance. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1942. During his rookie season with the Valdosta Trojans of the Class D Georgia-Florida League, the 18-year-old right-hander made 30 appearances for an 18-8 record (winning his first 12 games) and exceptional 1.94 ERA, while striking out a league-leading 204 batters, and not allowing a single home run.

With a bright future in baseball ahead of him, Lown entered military service in February 1943, and trained at Camp Lee, Virginia. He served with the the 76th Infantry Division and arrived in England in December 1944, reaching mainland Europe in January of the following year. On March 14, 1945, as the 76th advanced through Germany, Sergeant Lown was hit in the leg by shrapnel. He was evacuated to a hospital in France.

Lown returned to baseball in 1946, pitching nine games for the Newport News Dodgers of the Class B Piedmont League, before undergoing arm surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Back in full swing in 1947, he was 13-7 with the Pueblo Dodgers of the Class A Western League, and was 17-6 with the team the following year, earning a brief stint with the Montreal Royals of the Class AAA International League. In 1949, the 25-year-old split the season between the Texas League's Fort Worth Cats and Montreal, and remained with Montreal in 1950.

Lown was 26, when he made his debut in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs on April 24, 1951. Working primarily as a relief pitcher, Lown remained with the Cubs until he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in May 1958. A month later he was selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox. In 1959, the 35-year-old made 60 appearances for the White Sox during the regular season, and a further three appearances against the Dodgers in the World Series.

Lown remained with the White Sox through 1962 and was released at the end of the season. He pitched a few spring training games for the Reds in 1963, but chose instead to retire to Pueblo, Colorado, where he had played baseball back in 1947/48, and worked as a postal carrier for 22 years.

Turk Lown passed away on July 8, 2016, in Pueblo, Colorado. He was 92 years old and is buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo.

Date Added December 20, 2017

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