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George Stallings, Jr.

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: February 4, 1918 Haddock, GA
Date and Place of Death:    March 28, 1970 Macon, GA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: First Base
Rank: Major
Military Unit: Company D, 1st Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

George T. Stallings, Jr., was born on February 4, 1918, at his father's cotton plantation at Haddock, Georgia. His father, also George, had played major league baseball in the 1890s and is best-known as the manager of the 1914 "Miracle Braves." Stallings took the Braves from a fifth-place finish in 1913 to a World Championship the following season. The senior Stallings died in 1929.

George, Jr., attended the University of Georgia, where he played first base on the varsity team and signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class A1 Southern Association, following graduation in 1939. Stallings played just four games with the Lookouts before being optioned to the Spartanburg Spartans of the Class B South Atlantic League. In 43 games with the Spartans, Stallings batted .211. In 1940, the 22-year-old joined the Selma Cloverleafs of the Class B Southeastern League, and batted .244 in 28 games.

Stallings had been a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at college, and entered military service in 1940, with an armored unit. He was based at Camp Beauregard, Alexandria, Louisiana, awaiting the completion of Camp Polk. Louisiana. He then went to California's Mojave Desert for training and on to Camp Pickett, Virginia, in October 1942. In January 1943, Stallings was stationed at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, where he was in charge of the baseball program. In September 1943, Captain Stallings arrived in England with D Company, 33rd Armored Regiment of the 3rd Armored Division. The division arrived in Normandy, France, on June 24, and was in action five days later.

On July 11, 1944, Stallings earned the Distinguished Service Cross. His tank was attacked by flame throwers as he was returning to the front following an officers' meeting. A mass of fire belched down the hatch and all its occupants scrambled out. Two crew members died, but two others escaped and crawled back, wounded, to Allied lines. Captain Stallings threshed the flames from his burning clothes, and ended up in a deep wet ditch as voices of a German tank hunting patrol were heard. They checked Stallings out, decided he was dead and when they left he walked, crawled and ran back to the task force command post, covered with black asphalt and refused to be evacuated. His DSC was for "intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty [that] exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States."

Stallings attained the rank of major, and commanded the 1st Battalion as they fought through France, Germany and the Battle of the Bulge. On January 7, 1945, the day after he was awarded his DSC for his actions in the Normandy campaign, he was struck by a sniper's bullet in the back. The bullet shattered a rib and punctured his lungs. Stallings was evecuated to a hospital. His war was over; as was his baseball career.

George Stallings passed away on March 28, 1970. He was 52 years old, and is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Georgia.

Date Added December 30, 2017

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