Mike Feduniak - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Mike Feduniak

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: July 1, 1920 Akron, OH
Date and Place of Death:    September 25, 2012 FL
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Catcher
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit:  315th Troop Carrier Squadron, 443rd Troop Carrier Group US Army Air Force
Area Served: China-Burma-India

Michael Feduniak, the son of Theordore and Anna Feduniak, was born on July 1, 1920, in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from the Akron Garfield High School in 1938, and was a standout athlete at Kent State University, lettering in football, baseball and basketball. He received offers from the Cubs, Senators, Indians and Red Sox, as well as offers to play football with the Steelers and Lions. The 21-year-old catcher signed with the Boston Red Sox, playing for the Bluefield Blue-Grays of the Class C Mountain State League in 1942. Appearing in 38 games, he batted .264.

Feduniak entered military service in October 1942, and graduated as a pilot with the rank of second lieutenant in April 1944. He joined the 315th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 443rd Troop Carrier Group in November 1944, in the China-Burma-India Theater, and became a flight leader after seven months. Stationed at Ledo, Dinjan, Chihkiang, and Hankow, he flew the Curtiss C-46 Commando transport plane over the “Hump” until the Japanese surrender. During this time he was shot down and survived the jungles of India. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Air Medals, a Purple Heart and a recommendation for a Congressional Medal of Honor. He returned to the United States as a first lieutenant in December 1945.

Feduniak was 25 years old when he returned to professional baseball in 1946. He played 13 games with the Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets of the Class C Carolina League and 40 games with the Mooresville Moors of the Class D North Carolina State League. In 1947, he played 122 games with the West Palm Beach Indians of the Class C Florida International League, and batted .240. He hit .253 with the New Castle Chiefs of the Class C Middle Atlantic League in 1948, and played for Pampa and Abilene of the Class C West Texas-New Mexico League in 1949.

Following baseball, Feduniak taught and coached at Canal Fulton High School, Ohio, Coventry High School, Ohio, Hower Vocational High School in Akron, and then Hialeah High School, Miami, Florida, for thirty two years, where he was instrumental in bringing the aviation program to the school.

Mike Feduniak, who was inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fame at Kent State University, passed away on September 25, 2012, in Florida. He was 92 years old and is buried at South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, Florida.

Date Added February 1, 2018

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