Don Kolloway - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

Home | About | Pre WWI | WWI | WWII | Korea | Vietnam | Post Vietnam | Non Wartime | Wounded | Decorated | Contact Us | Search

Don Kolloway

Ballplayers Decorated in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 4, 1918 Posen, IL
Date and Place of Death:    June 30, 1994 Blue Island, IL
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Second Base
Rank: Private First-Class
Military Unit: Medical Detachment, 29th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Donald M. Kolloway was born on August 4, 1918, in Posen, Illinois, his family moved to Blue Island, Illinois, when he was very young and it was to be his hometown for the rest of his life. He attended Blue Island High School where he was shortstop on the baseball team, and played semi-pro ball with the Blue Island Athletics after graduating in 1936.

Kolloway signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1937, and was assigned to the Rayne Rice Birds of the Class D Evangeline League in 1938. He batted .313 with 87 RBIs his rookie year, and advanced to the Oklahoma City Indians of the Class A1 Texas League in 1939, joining the Chicago White Sox in September 1940, ank making his major league debut on the 16th of that month.

The 6-foot-3-inch second baseman played 71 games for the White Sox in 1941, platooning with Bill Knickerbocker. A highlight of that season was on June 28, when he stole four bases, including second, third, and home, and hit two home runs and a single in a 6-4 win over the Indians. He became Chicago’s starting second baseman in 1942 appearing in 147 games, batting .273, stealing 16 bases and leading the American League with 40 doubles.

Kolloway played 85 games with the White Sox in 1943, before entering military service with the Army on July 2, 1943. He served at Camp Grant, Illinois, and explained a typical day in the Army to The Sporting News in September 1943. "After a four-hour hike with a full pack, we went through an hour of calisthenics. And then did we get to go to our barracks to rest? We did not. We went to the mess hall to scrub for two hours. Wonder why I ever thought playing a double-header at second base was hard work?"

In March 1944, Kolloway was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, where he played baseball for the Camp Shelby All-Stars alongside Whitey Moore. Private First-Class Kolloway was later assigned to a medical detachment of the 29th Infantry Division in Europe, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. When the war ended in Europe, he was stationed in Germany, and served as a driver for Lt. E. D. Darlington of the American Military Government, and played baseball for the 29th Infantry Division Blue and Grays ball team - Seventh Army Champions.

Kolloway was discharged from service on March 15, 1946. He joined the White Sox for spring training, but the team was sceptical about whether he could still play after being away for almost three years and facing combat. They even experimented with Chet Hajduk – another returning vet who played outfield and first base - at second base just in case. But the 27-year-old Kolloway proved he could still play and appeared in 123 games for a .280 batting average (as it turned out Hajduk was the one who never played again in the majors. He was sent to Shreveport of the Texas League in 1946).

Kolloway remained the White Sox starting second baseman until he was traded to the Tigers in May 1949. The Tigers dealt him to the Athletics in January 1953, and he was released in May of that year. He played for Portland of the Pacific Coast League the remainder of that year and the following season.

After his baseball career ended, he owned and operated a tavern called Kolloway's in Blue Island, Illinois, from 1956 to 1969. Later he worked in voter registration for Cook County. Don Kolloway passed away on June 30, 1994, at St. Francis Regional Hospital in Blue Island. He was 75 years old and is buried at Cedar Park Cemetery in Blue Island.

Don Kolloway
Don Kolloway, left, with his hometown friend, Bud McCanna, in Mannheim, Germany, 1945

Date Added January 26, 2018

Can you add more information to this biography and help make it the best online resource for this player? Contact us by email

Read Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice Through The Years - an online year-by-year account of military related deaths of ballplayers

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice is associated with Baseball Almanac

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice is proud to be sponsored by

Big League Chew