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Bill Hansen

 

Date and Place of Birth: October 10, 1921 Chicago, IL
Date and Place of Death:    December 17, 1944 Hurtgen Forest, Germany
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Outfield
Rank: Sergeant
Military Unit: HQ Company, 311th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

William F. Hansen - son of Fred and Caroline Hansen, and a native of Chicago's West side - signed with the Greenville Lions of the Class D Alabama State League in 1941, and was batting .339 with seven home runs in 55 games with the lastplace club, when he was assigned to the Fort Pierce Bombers of the Class D Florida East Coast League. The Bombers were vying for a position in the league playoffs and Hansen, an outfielder, batted .276 in 53 games to help them finish in third place. Unfortunately, the Bombers were defeated in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Beach Flamingos.

In 1942, Hansen batted an eye-catching .393 after 16 games with the Bombers, and joined the Statesville Owls of the Class D North Carolina State League. His stay there, however, was short-lived and he spent the majority of the season with the Green Bay Bluejays of the Class D Wisconsin State League. Hansen batted .310 in 88 games and led the team with 72 walks and 17 stolen bases. The Bluejays finished just one-half game behind the pennant-winning Sheboygan Indians, and beat the Appleton Papermakers, three games to two, in the first round of the playoffs, before being defeated by Sheboygan in the finals, all without the services of Bill Hansen, who entered military service on September 3.

Hansen’s contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers of the Class AA American Association at the end of the season, and a bright future seemed to be ahead for the 22-year-old, but, for the time being, he was a Sergeant in the US Army, and was soon attached to HQ Company, 311th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division in Europe. On December 17, 1944, having been overseas for just one month, he died of wounds received in combat in Belgium during the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest.

In December 1947, Hansen's body was returned to Chicago. Following services at the Moeller and Halleman Chapel he was buried at the Waldheim Cemetery (now known as the Forest Home Cemetery).

Year

Team

League

Class

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

1941

Greenville Alabama State

D

55 254 51 86 16 3 7 58 .339

1941

Fort Pierce Florida E. Coast

D

53 196 28 54 7 4 1 24 .276

1942

Fort Pierce Florida E. Coast

D

16 61 14 24 3 2 0 10 .393
1942
Satesville N. Carolina State D - - - - - - - - -
1942
Green Bay Wisconsin State D 88 319 90 99 30 7 7 57 .310

 

Bill Hansen

Bill Hansen (front row, far right) with the 1942 Green Bay Bluejays

Bill Hansen

Green Bay manager, Red Smith, shakes hands with Bill Hansen and three other members of the team who were leaving for military service in September 1942


Thanks to Davis O. Barker for help with this biography. Thanks also to Astrid van Erp for help with photos for this biography.

Date Added January 31, 2012 Updated August 3, 2017

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