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Heinie Mueller

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: July 20, 1912 St. Louis, MO
Date and Place of Death:    October 3, 1986 Orlando, FL
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Infield
Rank: Sergeant
Military Unit: Company A, 7th Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Armored Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Emmett J. “Heinie” Mueller, the son of drug store proprietor John and Ellen Mueller, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 20, 1912. The 5-foot 6-inch infielder was the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals bat boy in 1928, and was just 16 when he first played minor league baseball with the Danville Veterans of the Class B Three-I league in 1929. Mueller played 27 games that year and batted .226. In 1930, he was with the Scottsdale Scotties of the Class C Middle-Atlantic League where he appeared in 91 games and batted .275. In 1931, Mueller batted .304 with the Scotties, but was out of organized baseball in 1932.

He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization in 1933, and was assigned to the Springfield Cardinals of the Class A Western Association, batting .280. He hit .292 with Springfield in 1934 and joined the Houston Buffs of the Class A Texas League in 1935, batting .254 in 157 games. Mueller remained with the Buffs through 1937, and was sold to the Phillies in December of that year.

Mueller was 25 years old when he made his debut for the Phillies on April 19, 1938, hitting a home run in his first at-bat. He batted .250 in 136 games over the year, and batted .279 as a utility infielder in 1939. He batted at the .247 mark in 1940 (his younger brother, Charles, batted .313 wih Fort Lauderdale of the Florida East Coast League that season) and was .227 in 1941.

In December 1941, Mueller was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers, but entered military service on February 28, 1942. He served with the Army at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and played for the Reception Center Missions with Johnny Sturm, George Archie, Joe Gallagher, Al Mazur (Louisville Colonels), and Dick Tichachek (Cardinals’ farm system).

On July 7, 1942, Mueller was selected for an All-Service team that played against an American League all-star squad at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Before 62,059 fans, the American League beat the servicemen, 5-0.

Mueller remained at Jefferson Barracks in 1943, but in October he was one of 119 athletes working at Camp Grant, Illinois, under a new physical education rehabilitation program for convalescent soldiers. In November he was assigned to the re-training unit at O'Reilly General Army Hospital in Springfield, Missouri as an educational adviser, and then went to Camp Polk, Louisiana, with Company A of the 7th Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Armored Division. Mueller played a number of games for the division baseball team at Camp Polk, where one of his teammates was Earl "Lefty" Springer, a promising young pitcher with the International League's Baltimore Orioles (Springer was killed in action in Germany on January 25, 1945). In October 1944, the 8th Armored Division left Louisiana for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, staging camp for troops being deployed to Europe. The division sailed on November 7, and arrived in England on November 22. They encamped at Tidworth Barracks and began six weeks of preparation for combat in Europe.

Sergeant Mueller landed in France with the 8th Armored in January 1945 and advanced rapidly through the country, then into the Netherlands and Germany. Mueller was wounded in action in February 1945 and received the Purple Heart.

Mueller returned to baseball in 1946. He was 33 years old and had missed four seasons. He became player-manager with the Lynchburg Cardinals of the Class B Piedmont League, and managed the Muskogee Reds of the Class C Western Association in 1949 and 1950. He later worked as a scout for the Tigers in the Missouri Valley region.

Heinie Mueller passed away on October 3, 1986, in Orlando, Florida. He was 74 years old and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winter Garden, Florida.

Date Added December 26, 2017

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