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Charley Greenockle

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: February 17, 1917 East Meadow, NY
Date and Place of Death:    February 5, 1990 New York, NY
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Military Unit: 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Charles E. Greenockle, the son of John and Anna Greenockle, was born on February 17, 1917, in East Meadow, New York. He was a sensational right-handed pitcher for Joe Fay's Hempstead High School team from 1932 to 1935 and also pitched for the Hempstead team in the Class B Nassau County Junior Legion league.

On July 19, 1934, aged just 17, Greenockle was at Ebbets Field, showing his pitching talents to the visiting Pirates' manager, Pie Traynor. Following graduation from high school in 1935, he pitched for the North Bellmore Community Club and had a tryout with the Yankees in 1937. In 1938, he signed a contract with Williamsport of the Eastern League - an Athletics farm club - and was optioned to the Lexington Indians of the Class D North Carolina State League. In nine appearances he was 5-2 with a 4.67 ERA. He continued to pitch for Lexington in 1939, and returned to the team in 1940. He was 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA before pulling a muscle below the elbow of his throwing arm in late May. Manager, Lester Smith, sent Greenockle home to rest. It was to be the end of his professional career.

In August 1940, Greenockle pitched for the East Meadow Boosters of the Nassau Alliance and took a job with the Doubleday, Doran company in Garden City.

In February 1942, Greenockle entered military service and trained at Pine Camp, New York. On May 17, 1942, he married Dorothy Kleeman, and was sent overseas with the 53rd Armored Infantry Battalion of the 4th Armored Division in December 1943. After training in England from January to July 1944, the 53rd landed at Utah Beach, on July 11, 1944, over a month after the initial Normandy landings, and first entered combat on July 17.

Two days after entering combat Technical Sergeant Greenockle suffered serious leg wounds during a German counterattack as the 53rd were moving forward to relieve the 8th Infantry Regiment
northeast of Perriers, France.

It wasn't until April 1945, that Greenockle returned to his unit. He also received a promotion to second lieutenant. In his recommendation for the promotion, his commanding officer, Captain Alfred J. Owen, said, "Technical Sergeant Greenockle has been platoon sergeant of the second platoon of this organization for about 19 months, during which time, in combat, he has proven his ability of leadership."

With the war over, Greenockle returned home to the United States and was honorably discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in Novemebr 1945.

On May 5, 1946, Greenock, 29 returned to baseball in New York and pitched four innings in relief for the North Merrick club, earning the win in a 6-5 win over Grant Park.

Charley Greenock passed away in New York on February 5, 1990, aged 72.

Date Added December 22, 2017

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