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Mickey Dejonghe

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat


Date and Place of Birth: December 26, 1912 Detroit, MI
Date and Place of Death:    April 11, 2003 Detroit, MI
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Infielder
Rank: Corporal
Military Unit: USMC
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Emile H. “Mickey” Dejonghe (pronounced DeYoung) was born on December 26, 1912, in Detroit, Michgan. He was a pitcher at St. Bernard’s Grammar School and attended Southeastern High School in Detroit but dropped out of school to help his parents and worked at Briggs Manufacturing Co.

Playing semi-pro baseball for the Tivoli Brewers in the Federation League, the 22-year-old was signed by Detroit Tigers scout Wish Egan in May 1935, and assigned to the Henderson Oilers of the Class C West Dixie League. Playing second base, Dejonghe batted .295 in 128 games and made 12 late-season appearances for the Springfield Senators of the Class B Three-I League.

In the spring of 1936, Dejonghe was due to report to the Beaumont Exporters of the Class A1 Texas League, but while at the train station in Detroit he was notified that his mother had died. Arriving two weeks later than the rest of the team, he was unable to hit his stride in time and was sent back to Henderson who were now playing in the Class C East Texas League. Dejonghe played 146 games in 1936 and batted and batted .279 with 11 home runs, good enough to be named to the East Texas League all-star team.

In 1937, he was named a league all-star for the second time as he batted .311 in 144 for the Oilers with 104 RBIs and a league record 64 doubles.

The 25-year-old joined the Beaumont Exporters in 1938. Eight games into the season he was batting .462, when he broke his ankle sliding into home. It was June before he got back into the lineup but managed to hit .309 in 89 games.

Dejonghe was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Class AA International League in October 1938, and batted .276 in 138 games in 1939, then .251 in 113 games in 1939. In April 1941, he was traded to the Birmingham Barons of the Class A1 Southern Association for two pitchers, Joe Vance and Eddie Selway, but played just two games.

Dejonghe joined the Marines in January 1943 and played baseball for the Mare Island Barracks team in California. He saw combat in the Pacific and on July 27, 1944, Corporal Dejonghe was shot through the right knee at Guam. He convalesced at a Navy hospital in Hawaii, before returning home to Detroit.

Dejonghe’s baseball career was over. He worked as a plant supervisor at Detroit Aluminum and Brass, but his love of the game never faded. “He really loved Tiger Stadium,” recalled Mike Nevin, the husband of Dejonghe’s granddaughter. “He knew that ballpark like the back of his hand.

Mickey Dejonghe was 90 years old when he passed away on April 11, 2003, at his home in Detroit. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Detroit.

Date Added March 25, 2020

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