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Lamar Zimmerman

 

Date and Place of Birth: September 2, 1918 Pine Grove, PA
Date and Place of Death:    January 24, 1945 Wilwerwiltz, Luxembourg
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Outfield
Rank: Technical Sergeant
Military Unit: Company K, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Lamar A. "Dutch" or "Moose" Zimmerman was born in Marstown, near Pine Grove, Pennsylvania in 1918. He attended Marstown schools and later the Coutinuation School in Pine Grove. [1] He signed with the Syracuse Chiefs of the Class AA International League in the fall of 1940, and played three games before the season was over. During spring training 1941, Chiefs manager Ben Borgmann tried to convert the outfielder into a catcher, but the experiment failed and he was optioned to the Bristol Twins of the Class D Appalachian League. Zimmerman had an outstanding season batting .326 in 114 games, with 30 doubles, nine home runs and 102 RBIs, as the Twins finished second to Elizabethton, earning him a recall to the Chiefs in September.

Zimmerman worked as a butcher at the Wilhelm Meat Market in Pine Grove during the winter months and was looking forward to securing himself a place in the Syracuse outfield during spring training, but military service intervened and he was inducted at the New Cumberland Army Reception Center, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1942. He served with the Army at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, in 1943, and was a regular outfielder with the Camp Wheeler Spokes which featured Senators' infielder Cecil Travis. The Spokes had an outstanding year and clinched the National Semi-Pro tournament title with a 5-3 win over Enid Army Flying School of Oklahoma, on August 29. John Bottarini, a former Syracuse catcher, who played for the Kirtland Field Army Air Force team in the tournament, saw Zimmerman in action and sang his praises to the Syracuse Herald-Journal. "Zimmerman will be ready for the Chiefs when peace comes and will be valuable to Syracuse as a hitter," he said. [2]

By October 1944, Technical Sergeant Zimmerman was in Europe with Company K of the 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th "Blue Ridge" Infantry Division. When the Germans launched their winter offensive in the Ardennes, the division was involved in heavy fighting in Luxembourg and at Bastogne. On January 24,1945, in extreme cold and heavy snow, Company K was dug in near the town of Wilwerwiltz in Luxembourg. The Battle of the Bulge was drawing to an end but the enemy continued to harass allied troops by any means possible, and Technical Sergeant Zimmerman was killed during a heavy German mortar and artillery attack. [3]

Lamar Zimmerman was 27 years old and survived by his wife, Tillie, who was living in Georgia. He was buried in Luxembourg but his body was returned to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, in April 1949 and buried at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery.

"He was my grandmother's brother," recalls Pastor Larry Lamar Spittler, "and I was named after him. I am proud of him even though I never met him and I am honored to carry his name." [4]

 

Team

League

Class

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

1940 Syracuse International AA 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1941 Bristol Appalachian D 114 475 86 155 30 15 9 102 .326
1941 Syracuse International AA - - - - - - - - -

 

Notes
1. Lebanon Daily News, March 22, 1949 and April 11, 1949
2. Syracuse Herald-Journal, November 2, 1943
3. Company K, 317th Infantry Regiment Morning Reports, January 24 to February 7, 1945
4. Email correspondence with Pastor Larry Spittler, December 2007

Thanks Pastor Larry Spittler for help with this biography. Thanks also to Astrid van Erp for help with information for this biography.

Date Added June 3, 2012 Updated August 4, 2017

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