Hughie Nelson - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Hughie Nelson

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: January 15, 1918 Glasgow, Scotland
Date and Place of Death:    January 17, 2012 Topsfield, MA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Military Unit:  US Army
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Hugh "Hughie" Nelson, son of William and Jessie Nelson, was born on January 15, 1918, in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts. A quarterback and pitcher at Beverly High School, he captained both the football and baseball teams in his senior year, and is best remembered for ending the school's long scoreless streak against arch-rival Salem, on Thanksgiving morning in 1935, when he caught a touchdown pass.

Nelson played for the Pocomoke City Red Sox of the Class D Eastern Shore League in 1938, appearing in nine games for a 3-4 record and 8.60 ERA. He was back with Pocomoke City in 1939, but an arm injury ended his minor league career.

Nelson worked as a molder at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Beverly, before entering military service in October 1942. He served as a staff sergeant in the Pacific and saw action in the Philippines, where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart.

Nelson returned to Beverly after the war and continued working at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation for 40 years, also playing football with town teams in Danvers, Ipswich and Peabody, and with the semi-professional Haverhill Steamrollers.

"He was a great citizen in Beverly and a very positive person," said former Beverly High football coach Bill Hamor. "I coached his son in hockey and we were friends for a lot of years. Hughie was just a great guy, who never forgot where he came from. Beverly was very important to him, and he followed sports in the community closely. He knew all the kids and their successes."

Hughie Nelson, an inaugural inductee into the Beverly High Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, passed away at Masconomet Healthcare in Topsfield, Massachusetts, on January 17, 2012. He was 94 years old and is buried at North Beverly Cemetery.

Date Added February 2, 2018

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