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Bill Moisan

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: July 30, 1925 Bradford, MA
Date and Place of Death:    April 9, 2010 Brentwood, NH
Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private First-Class
Military Unit: Company G, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

William J. “Bill” Moisan, Jr., was born in Bradford, Massachusetts on July 30, 1925. He grew up in Newton, New Hampshire, graduated from Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, New Hampshire, and entered military service with the Army on December 9, 1943.

Moisan was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before going overseas with Company G of the 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division. Moisan served in France in 1944, and was part of the Allied advance into Germany in early 1945, earning the Silver Star at Jagstfeld, Germany in April. His citation read:

"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes Pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class William J. Moisan, Jr., United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with Company G, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division, in action at Jagstfeld, Germany, during World War II. Private First Class Moisan's gallant actions and selfless devotion to duty, without regard for his own safety, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army."

He also received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.

Moisan was later captured by the Germans and as a Prisoner of War endured a 32-day forced march across Germany into Austria. Moisan suffered frozen feet and his weight dropped from 185 pounds to just 95 pounds.

When he was discharged in December 1945, his feet were so tender that he was unable to cope with the infield work required around first base, his normal position, but still wanted to pursue a career in professional baseball and tried his hand at pitching. An army buddy and minor league ballplayer, Clarence "Soddy" Groat, suggested he tryout for the Lockport Cubs of the Class D PONY League. The bespectacled right-hander was assigned by Lockport after a couple of good outings in intra-squad games. "He has a beautiful change of pace and a nice breaking curve," said Lockport manager, Jimmy Moody, following a pre-season intra-squad game in April 1946. "Another thing I like about
him is his very deceptive movement just before he throws."

Moisan threw well for the Lockport team. In 27 outings he was 8-10 with a 3.31 ERA. On July 29, 1946, Moisan learned that he had been sold by Lockport to the Chicago Cubs. In his last appearance for Lockport that evening before leaving to report to Shelby in the Class B Tri-State League, he came in in relief and pitched 7 and two-thirds innings in an 11-inning game against the Hornell Pirates, allowing just one run and winning the game with a towering triple to deep-right center brought the crowd to its feet.

Moisan was 7-2 with the Shelby Cubs for the remainder of 1946, and pitched for the Macon Peaches of the Class A South Atlantic League in 1947, posting an 11-15 record. In 1948, he threw a handful of games for the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels and also pitched for the Nashville Vols of the Class A1 Southern Association and the Des Moines Bruins of the Class A Western League.

He spent 1950 with the Springfield Cubs of the Class AAA International League, where he was 12-9, and returned to the Loas Angeles Angels in 1951. Following a 10-8 season with the Angels in 1951, a 16-12 record in 1952, and a 10-11 record in 1953, Moisan, primarily a knuckleball pitcher, joined the Chicago Cubs and made his major league debut on September 25, 1953, against the Cardinals. Aged 28, he made three appearances for the Cubs that year, which would prove to be the full extent of his major league career.

Moisan was back with the Los Angeles Angels in 1954, and ended his career in 1955 with the Charleston Senators of the Class AAA Amrican Association and the Shreveport Sports of the Class AA Texas League.

He remained involved with baseball, coaching teams near his home in New Hampshire for a number of years, and worked as a manager at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire, retiring in 1985.

Bill Moisan died April 9, 2010, at Rockingham County Nursing Home in Brentwood, New Hampshire. He was 86 years old and is buried at Willow Grove Cemetery, Newton, New Hampshire.

Date Added December 24, 2017

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