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Mike Dolan


Date and Place of Birth: October 31, 1899 Crockett, CA
Date and Place of Death:    May 14, 1944 New Caledonia
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Lieutenant (jg)
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

A pitcher, boxer, wrestler and promoter, Dolan was just 5-foot-9, but as Russ Whiting, sports editor for the Richmond (California) Indpendent observed in May 1944, the grinning Irishman, was "a great sportsman, a devoted father and, like so many of his breed, the toughest kind of a scrapper you'd ever want to tangle with."

Clarence Robert "Mike" Dolan was born on October 31, 1899 in Crockett, California, 28 miles northeast of San Francisco. His parents were Thomas, a 31-year-old warehouse laborer, and Alyce, who was just 19 at the time of his birth. Mike was the first of five children, followed by Robert in 1902, Leslie in 1904, Lilas (the only girl) in 1908, and Theodore in 1909. The marriage didn't last and by 1910, the three oldest boys - Clarence, Robert and Leslie, were "inmates" at the Volunteers for America Home for Children in San Francisco.

Alyce later married a soldier, David Widman, who served with the army at Fort Winfield Scott in San Francisco, and by 1920 the five children were living with their mother and step-father in San Francisco.

Dolan, who was known as Mike from a young age, had served with the US Army Air Service during World War I and worked as a shipyard machinist while involved in baseball, boxing and wrestling. In 1921, he pitched for the B. F. Goodrich Rubber Company of San Francisco, and was with the 1922 Refinery team in the Richmond (California) Twilight League. In 1923, he was with the Calatone Water Company in Oakland, and had a try-out with the Pacific Coast League's Seattle team that year. By 1925, he was playing semi-pro winter ball in the Oakland Winter League with Broadway Department Store, and the following year he was pitching for the Berrios Auto Painters in the San Francisco Mid-Winter League. But, Mike's focus was not only on baseball. Early in 1926, he was promoting the Adam et Eve Parfum team in the newly formed San Francisco Professional Basketball League.

1926 was a busy year for Dolan. Despite being 26 years old, he was signed by the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks in February and trained with the team at Myrtledale, before being assigned to the Springfield Senators in the Class B Three-I League. In June 1926, Dolan's services were acquired by manager Carl Zemloch for the struggling Twin Falls Bruins in the Class C Utah-Idaho League. Dolan made 24 appearances, pitched 165 innings and had an 11-7 won-loss record. He also batted .222, appearing in an additional 13 games when not pitching. Dolan started the 1927 season with Twin Falls, but was released in June and played for Clarks in the Mines League in Butte, Montana.

By 1930, Dolan was working as a shipyard machinist in Vallejo, California. He and his wife, Gladys (they married in 1922), had three children at this time - Clarence, Jr., Robert and Joyce (Jimmy and Perry would be born before the decade ended), but he was never far away from sports. Dolan was an announcer, referee and manager on the boxing circuit, and also promoted wrestling. By 1940, he was a machinist in El Cerito, and was working at the Lynch Shipbuilding Company in San Diego with his son Clarence, Jr., two years later.

By 1943, Dolan was serving with the US Navy as a Machinist's Mate in San Pedro. He attained the rank of lieutenant junior grade in the Supply Corps and left San Francisco in March 1944 aboard the transport ship USS General J. R. Brooke. Dolan was bound for NSD Noumea in New Caledonia, a vast naval base that had 50,000 servicemen stationed there at its peak.

Dolan had only been in the area a very short time when he was reported missing on May 14, 1944. He and a handful of other servicemen were on a small Pacific atoll and received orders to move to another nearby atoll. They set sail in a small open boat that was caught in a tropical storm. The boat washed up on a reef and was smashed to pieces. Two enlisted men swam to an uninhabited island where they were later rescued, but Dolan and the others on the boat were never seen again.

Clarence "Mike" Dolan is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.












1926 Twin Falls Utah-Idaho C 24 165 - 72 - 11 7 -

Clarence "Mike" Dolan

Date Added July 3, 2024

Thanks to Jack Morris for "discovering" Mike Dolan.

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