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Jack Knott

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: March 2, 1907 Dallas, TX
Date and Place of Death:    October 13, 1981 Brownwood, TX
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: Headquarters Company, 104th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

John H. “Jack” Knott was born on March 2, 1907 in Dallas, Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University before signing with the Corsicana Oilers of the Class D Texas Association in 1926. He was with Corsicana and the Class A Texas League's Dallas Steers in 1927, and was 13-8 with Palestine Pals of the Class D Lone Star League in 1928. He joined the Mission Reds of the Pacific Coast League late in 1928 and stayed with the team for three seasons. In 1931, the 24-year-old right-hander joined the Milwaukee Brewers of the Class AA American Association, posting an 11-9 record, which was improved to 17-12 in 1932, prompting his sale to the St. Louis Browns.

Knott made his major league debut with the Browns on April 13, 1933, against the Chicago White Sox. He was 1-8 for the last-placed team but was 10-3 in 1934 as the Browns climbed to sixth place. Over the next four years, Knott was a regular feature of the lowly Browns with won-loss records of 10-3 in 1934, 11-8 in 1935, 9-17 in 1936 and 8-18 in 1937. Knott was traded to the White Sox in June 1938 and joined the Philadelphia Athletics in 1941. He was 2-10 for the basement-dwelling Athletics in 1942 before entering military service on November 24 of that year at the age of 35.

Knott served with the Army at Camp Wolters Reception Center in Texas, before being assigned to Camp Adair, Oregon, as an acting first sergeant with the 104th "Timberwolf" Infantry Division. During the summer of 1943, he had plenty of opportunity to play baseball while managing the 104th Timberwolves team. Home games were played at George Waters Field, formerly home of Salem in Western International League, and much of the equipment they used was made available by Mrs. George Waters, owner of the Salem club. The Timberwolves won the Oregon state semipro and Pacific Northwest servicemen's titles that year.

In April 1944, Knott was first sergeant with Headquarters Company of the 104th Division at Camp Carson, Colorado. The division was shipped to Europe later in the year and landed in France on September 7, 1944. The 104th's first combat experience occurred during the latter part of the Battle of the Scheldt – an operation in northern Belgium aimed at opening the port of Antwerp to Allied shipping. On November 6, 1944, the 104th began moving by motor convoy towards Aachen, Germany and participated in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest.

On January 8, 1945, he received a battlefield commission, when he was promoted to second lieutenant. Two days later, in Belgium, he was wounded and was awarded the Purple Heart.

As the German offensive in the Ardennes wound down, the division moved across the Roer River. On March 5, it entered Cologne after heavy fighting, and crossed the Rhine at Honnef on March 22, 1945. Knott earned a further promotion during this time, being made a first lieutenant.

After liberating the Mittelbau Dora concentration camp near Nordhausen on April 11, the division met up with the Russian Army at Pretzsch on April 26, where they remained until the German surrender on May 7, 1945.

The 104th Infantry Division left Europe for the United States on June 27, 1945, and by July he was at home on leave with his wife in Brownwood, Texas. On August 3, 1945, Knott, still in military service, was at San Luis Obispo, California, where he talked of hoping to get a coaching job or minor league manager’s job after service. He was discharged from the Army at Fort Ord, California, on November 19, 1945.

Jack Knott was 39 years old when he returned to the Athletics in the spring of 1946. He made three appearances for the team before being released on May 18. He played briefly for Jersey City of the International League before retiring from the game.

In December 1946, Knott became the Southwest scout for the Cincinnati Reds. He was hired by Richard W. Burnett, owner of the Dallas Rebels, in July 1948, as a personal contact man and scout. He later worked as a baseball school instructor and minor league business manager.

Jack Knott passed away on October 13, 1981, in Brownwood, Texas. He was 74 years old and is buried at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood.

Date Added December 21, 2017

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