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Dick Mlady

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat


Date and Place of Birth: July 18, 1919 Cleveland, OH
Date and Place of Death:    January 19, 1977 Harrisburg, PA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Sergeant
Military Unit: 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Armored Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Richard F. “Dick” Mlady, the son of Frank and Clara Mlady, was born on July 18, 1918 in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended West Technical High School in Cleveland and in addition to playing baseball he studied the violin and accordion for eight years.

After playing semi-pro baseball in Cleveland, Mlady signed with the Boston Red Sox in the spring of 1939 and joined the Danville-Schoolfield Leafs of the Class D Bi-State League. He got minimal playing time that year and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1940. Pitching for the Superior Blues of the Class D Northern League, Mlady hurled 216 innings in 30 games for a 14-13 record and 4.88 ERA.

In 1941 he joined the Dayton Ducks of the Class C Middle Atlantic League and was 3-7 in 12 appearances before entering military service in July. He was sent to Fort Hayes Reception Center at Columbus, Ohio and then to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he played baseball, but also played accordion in the regimental band.

In October 1941, Private Mlady was transferred to the 54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the 3rd Armored Division at Camp Polk, Louisiana. “I expected to find swamps and a snake in every mud hole,” he told the Dayton Herald in November 1941, “but instead I found hills, shady pines, new barracks and beautiful chapels.” 

In July 1942, 3rd Armored was transferred to Camp Young, California. It left Camp Young in January 1943 and moved to the Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pennsylvania. In July 1943, Mlady – now a sergeant - married Jean Yerger at Indiantown Gap chapel before leaving for service in Europe.

After training in Somerset, England, 3rd Armored landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy on June 24, 1944, and fought through France, Belgium and Germany. Sergeant Mlady was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945 and received the Purple Heart.

He returned home and was discharged from military service in July 1945. Back with the Dodgers organization, he immediately joined the Montreal Royals of the Class AA International League and made seven appearances for a 1-0 record. In 1946 he was with the Nashua Dodgers of the Class B New England League, making 21 appearances for an excellent 14-6 record and 2.84 ERA. In 1947, he went to spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers and spent the season playing in the Class AA Texas League, making 21 appearances for the For Worth Cats before returning to Montreal in the now Triple-A International League, where his catcher was future Hall of Famer Roy Campanella.

Despite some promising numbers, Mlady had missed three vital seasons to military service and 1948, plagued by a sore arm, was to be his last season of professional baseball, splitting time between the Southern Association’s Mobile Bears and the Interstate League’s Lancaster Red Roses

Dick and Jean settled in Harrisburg and he continued to pitch sandlot baseball until the mid-1950s while working as a realtor. He also continued with his passion for music and, in the words of the Lancaster New Era, played “a pretty jazzy squeeze box.”

Dick Mlady was just 57 when he passed away in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1977. He is buried at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pennsylvania.

Date Added June 3, 2020

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