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Otto Halvacs

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat


Date and Place of Birth: February 21, 1925, in Cleveland, OH
Date and Place of Death:    December 23, 2009 North Olmsted, OH
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: First Base
Rank: Private First-Class
Military Unit: 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Otto E. Halvacs - the son of Anna Halvacs, a Hungarian immigrant - was born on February 21, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended West Tech High School in Cleveland and was signed off the local sandlots by the Cleveland Indians organization before entering military service in May 1943.

Private First-Class Halvacs served with the 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division in Europe. An automatic rifleman, he landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, on June 8, 1944, and was wounded at Cherbourg, France, in July 1944. Following recovery he went on to serve in combat during the Rhineland campaign and in central Europe.

Halvacs married Jean Bauser in Birmingham, England, in 1945. He returned to the United States and was picked up again by the Cleveland Indians in February 1946. The 21-year-old first baseman was assigned to the Pittsfield Electrics of the Class C Canadian-American League. Following spring training he was optioned to the Appleton Papermakers of the Class C Wisconsin State League where he played 97 games and batted .254, leading the team with nine home runs.

In 1947, Halvacs was back with Pittsfield for spring training, but was released by the club on May 1. He joined the Youngstown Colts of the Class C Middle-Atlantic League and played 23 games, batting .182 to conclude his professional career.

Halvacs returned to England the following season and played baseball in the Midlands League in Birmingham. He was not the only former GI to return to play baseball in England after the war. Vic Lambrecht, who had also been signed by the Indians before the war and who also married an English girl, played for the Birmingham Beavers around the same time as Halvacs.

Halvacs, his wife, Jean, and their daughter, Anne Marie, returned to the United States in the mid-1950s, where he became a mason bricklayer in Cleveland.

Otto Halvacs passed away in North Olmsted, Ohio, on December 23, 2009. He was 84 years old.

Thanks to Otto's son, Greg Halvacs, for help with this biography.

Date Added February 23, 2018

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