Bob Teeples - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Bob Teeples

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 14, 1918 Black River Falls, WI
Date and Place of Death:    August 5, 2011 Black River Falls, WI
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher/Shortstop
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Military Unit: 32nd Infantry Division and Alamo Scouts, US Army
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Robert W. "Bob" Teeples, the son of Oscar and Nellie Teeples, was born on August 14, 1918, in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Aged 19, he signed with the Eau Claire Bears of the Class D Northern League in 1938, and made 11 appearances for a 1-2 record. He was out of organized baseball in 1939, playing semi-pro ball with his hometown Black River Falls Merchants, but re-appeared in 1940, as a spectacles-wearing shortsop with the La Crosse Blackhawks of the newly-formed Class D Wisconsin State League, playing 14 games and batting .170.

Teeples entered military service in October 1940. By April 1941, he was an army truck driver at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, but his days were soon to change. Private First-Class Teeples served in the Pacific Theater for 37 months, including combat time with the 32nd Infantry Division in New Guinea - where he was awarded the Silver Star - and the Philippine Islands. He was assigned temporary duty to a special forces unit with the 6th Army, known as the Alamo Scouts, and graduated from the first Alamo Scouts training class on Fergusson Island, New Guinea, in February 1944. It was the purpose of the Alamo Scouts to conduct reconnaissance and raider work behind the enemy lines and send back valuable information. The unit is best known for its role in liberating American prisoners of war from the Japanese Cabanatuan POW camp near Cabanatuan, in the Philippines, in January 1945.

Teeples later returned to the 32nd Infantry Division, where he received a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant in May 1945, at Luzon. He was later severely wounded while on a patrol and returned to the United States for hospitalization.

Teeples was 27 years old when the war ended. He didn't return to professional baseball, but continued to pitch at the semi-pro level with the Black River Falls Merchants and the Whitehall team in the Trempealeau Valley League. He was the first president of the Jackson County Little League in 1954.

Teeples was a plant accountant with the Community Telephone Company from 1945, and later held the position of construction and maintenance supervisor for the Western District. When the company merged with the General Telephone Company in 1959, he became the construction supervisor for the Western District. In 1959, he was transferred to Madison, Wisconsin, to become the state construction co-ordinator. He later served in Wausau as field engineer and real estate administrator, returning to Black River Falls in that same capacity where he retired in 1980 after 32 years with the telephone company.

In 1976, Teeples received the General Telephone Company Community Service Award and the Black River Falls Community Service Award in 1984. He was also selected as one of Wisconsin’s Ten Most Admired Senior Citizens in 1984. In 2006, he was inducted into the “Hall of Heroes” at the Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center, and in 2008, he received the Black River Falls Rotary Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award for community service. He was the author of five books: “Jackson County Veterans, Volume 1 (1983) and Volume 2 (1986);” “Brockway Centennial Celebration (1990);” “Historic Hatfield (1992);” and “Fair Play (1996).”

Bob Teeples passed away at his home in Black River Falls, on August 5, 2011. He was 92 years old, and is buried at Riverside Cemetery, in Black River Falls.

Date Added January 28, 2018

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