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Tiny Osborne

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 1, 1921 Chattahoochee, GA
Date and Place of Death:    August 22, 1984 Fulton County, GA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private First-Class
Military Unit: US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

William R. "Tiny" Osborne was born at Chattahoochee, Georgia, on August 1, 1921. The son of Earnest "Tiny" Osborne, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound pitcher who was with the Atlanta Crackers when William was born, the senior Osborne went on to play major league baseball with the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers from 1922 to 1925, before taking a job as a Paymaster at a cotton mill.

William was 18 years old when he was signed by the Columbus Red Birds and optioned to Union City of the Class D Kitty League, where he was 3-7 in 21 games. He joined the Gastonia Cardinals of the Class D Tar Heel League in 1940, and was 9-8 with a 3.53 ERA in 29 appearances. Osborne moved up to the Springfield Cardinals of the Class C Middle-Atlantic League in 1941, and was 11-12 with a 3.21 ERA, and 13-15 with a 3.34 ERA in 1942.

At the end of the season, the 21-year-old entered military service with the army at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. He served in Europe and was wounded in action during the fighting at St. Lo, France. His unit had dug in at a canal and was awaiting the order to attack.

"We started to push on, and pretty soon we were throwing everything we had at the enemy. I was in firing position behind a hedge when they got me," Osborne explained. "Shrapnel from an exploding shell hit my legs."

He was carried back to an aid station by litter bearers and removed to a field hospital, where his wounds were treated before evacuation to England.

Osbone returned to baseball in 1946, and pitched for the Rochester Red Wings of the Class AAA International League, where he was 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 29 games. His final year in baseball was 1947, playing for the Birmingham Barons of the CLass AA Southern League and the Decatur Commodores of the Class B Three-I League.

William Osborne's brother Clarence, who was two years older, played for the New Bern Bears of the Class D Coastal Plain League in 1939. His younger brother, Larry "Bo" Osborne, was a first baseman with the Detroit Tigers and Washington Senators between 1957 and 1963, and later a scout with the San Francisco Giants.

William "Tiny" Osborne passed away in Fulton County, Georgia, on August 22, 1984. He was 63 years old.

Date Added December 29, 2017

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