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Burt Kenmuir

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: May 6, 1920 Pittsburgh, PA
Date and Place of Death:    August 5, 1978 San Bernardino, CA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Catcher/Manager
Rank: Pharmacist's Mate
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Burt L. Kenmuir was born on May 6, 1920, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, David, who worked as a conductor on the railroad, later moved to California, where Burt played a lot of fast-pitch softball, with the City league's Rotary Club team and the southern California champions, San Diego Elks.

In 1942, Kenmuir had a brief spring training trial with the Pacific Coast League's Hollywood Stars, as did another young California ballplayer named Howard Anderson. Kenmuir's hopes of a professional baseball career were put on hold when he entered military service with the Navy. Serving in the Pacific, Kenmuir was a pharmacist's mate, attached to the Marines at Guadalcanal, where he first met, albeit briefly, Howard Anderson. During the Japanese attack on Henderson Field at Guadalcanal, in late 1942, Kenmuir was hit in the abdomen by shrapnel. He was returned to the United States, where he was treated at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. Who else was at that hospital? None other than Howard Anderson, who was being treated for malaria.

Discharged from military service, Kenmuir gave professional baseball another chance in 1944, and was picked up by the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks. Also at the Oaks' spring training camp in San Bernardino, and his roommate, was Howard Anderson. Kenmuir was cut by the Oaks on March 16. Anderson was cut shortly afterwards.

Kenmuir was back in baseball in 1945. He played 10 games with the Utica Blue Sox of the Class A Eastern League, and batted just .043, but faired better with the Class C Carolina League's Greensboro Patriots, appearing in 56 games and batting .273. Kenmuir was out of organized baseball for the next few years but reappeared in 1950, with the Class D Far West League's Marysville Peaches. The Peaches, formerly a Boston Braves farm club, pursued a semi-independent course in 1950, with player help from the Giants, Pirates and Braves. Kenmuir, recommended to the team by Boston Braves scout Johnny Moore, signed for $3,000 as the their player-manager, with the stipulation that he would produce a winner or take a $500 cut at the end of the season. As a player, the 30-year-old catcher hit .296, but the Peaches struggled to win games. He was selected as a coach to assist Pittsburg Diamonds manager, Vince DiMaggio, lead the South team in the Far West League all-star game in July, but was out of a job by August. With the Peaches record standing at 38-61, and the team flirting with last place, Kenmuir was replaced by Charles Whelchel, who had played in the Brooklyn organization for three years and more recently had been a scout and minor league pitching coach for the Dodgers. It was Marysville's last season in the Far West League.

Burt Kenmuir, ballplayer, wounded veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, passed away, aged 58, on August 5, 1978, in San Bernardino, California.

Date Added July 31, 2016

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