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Leon Bonner

 

Date and Place of Birth: Date Unknown New York, NY
Date and Place of Death:    February 15, 1898 Havana Harbor, Cuba
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Manager's Assistant
Rank: Seaman
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Caribbean

Leon Bonner was from New York city. During the latter part of the 19th Century he served as a seaman aboard the USS Maine (ACR-1), the United States Navy's second commissioned battleship.

Bonner was assistant to the ships' baseball team manager, Charles Eirmann, and in Florida, in December 1897, the team defeated a team from the cruiser USS Marblehead, 18-3, to earn the title Navy baseball champions. Their next game was scheduled with an all-star squad in Havana, Cuba, and the Maine arrived in Havana Harbor in January.

On February 15, 1898, Marine Corps Fifer C.H. Newton, the ship’s bugler and the ball team’s third baseman, blew taps as the Maine bobbed listlessly in Havana Harbor. Shortly afterwards, the Maine blew up, killing 261 of the crew, including Leon Bonner and all but the baseball team’s right fielder, John Bloomer.

Two months after the loss of the USS Maine, on April 25, 1898, saw the start of the Spanish-American War, during which the rallying cry, “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!” was frequently heard.

Date Added: February 25, 2013

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