Verne Williamson - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Verne Williamson

Ballplayers Decorated in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: November 23, 1919 Mystic, IA
Date and Place of Death:    July 8, 1994 Springfield, IL
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: 451st Bomb Group US Army Air Force
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

Verne E. Williamson, the son of Ira and Flora Williamson, was born on November 23, 1919, in Mystic, Iowa. The 5-7, 140-pound right-hander signed with the Monroe White Sox of the Class C Cotton States League in 1941, and enjoyed a memorable rookie season with a 16-6 record in 29 games. He was promoted to the Shreveport Sports of the Class A1 Texas league in 1942, and was 5-10 in 36 games with a healthy 2.98 ERA. It was the 22-year-old's last season as a professional baseball player before military service beckoned.

Williamson trained as a navigator with the Army Air Force and attained the rank of First Lieutenant. He served in Italy with the 451st Bomb Group and completed 36 missions in the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber. 1/Lt. Williamson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air medal with 3 oak leaf clusters.

Williamson returned home to Iowa in 1945, and resumed his career with the Sports in 1946, posting an 8-16 record in 35 games. The "mighty mite" - as the Sporting News referred to him - was 14-9 in 1947 and 9-8 in 1948. He joined the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class AA Southern Association in 1949, and played for the Little Rock Travelers of the same league in 1950, remaining with that club until returning to Chattanooga for his final season in professional baseball in 1954.

Williamson was general manager of Plum's Inc., and lived much of his life in Quad Cities. He was a resident of Springfield, Illinois, for the last four years of his life and passed away on July 8, 1994, at St. John's Hospital. He was 74 years old and is buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield.

Date Added January 20, 2018

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