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Lou Janicek

Ballplayers Decorated in Combat


Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1918 Dallas, TX
Date and Place of Death:    February 2, 2003 New Braunfels, TX
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: 425th Night Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force US Army Air Force
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Louis H. Janiceck, Jr., son of Louis and Mary Janicek, was born in Dallas, Texas on April 22, 1918. He grew up in the Oak Cliff area and attended Adamson High School. He signed under the name of Lou Goldman (his mother’s maiden name) for the Harlingen Hubs of the Class D Texas Valley League in 1938, but was released shortly afterwards and joined the Refugio Oilers of the same league making 17 appearances for a 3-6 record and 5.55 ERA. With Lamesa and Big Spring of the Class D West Texas-New Mexico League in 1939, the 21-year-old left-hander was 13-8 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 games. He joined the Vancouver Capilanos  of the Class B Western International League in 1940 and was 12-6 with a 5.47 ERA in 31 appearances. Back with Vancouver in 1941 he pitched in 32 games for a 6-7 record and 6.51 ERA, making two appearances for the Seattle Rainiers of the Class AA Pacific Coast League.  

Janiceck entered military service with the Army Air Corps at Tarrant Field, Texas on September 23, 1941. Attaining a commission and completing pilot training, he later served in Europe as a Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter pilot with the 425th Night Fighter Squadron of the 9th Air Force. Janicek completed 30 strafing and radar-controlled interception patrols ahead of Third Army Corps in Germany. First Lieutenant Janiceck was awarded the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation Badge, Campaign Medal and three Bronze Campaign Stars.  

Janiceck returned to baseball after the war joining the Seattle Rainiers but being optioned to the Vancouver Capilanos at the start of the season. After two appearances he was optioned to the Gadsden Pilots of the Class B Southeastern League where he made seven appearances for a 1-2 record and 5.60 ERA. In July, Janicek left organized baseball and signed with the semi-pro Waco Dons, hurling a 3-1 two-hitter over the Conroe Wildcats in his debut. Later in July, he had one last crack at minor league baseball, pitching a complete game loss for the San Antonio Missions of the Class AA Texas League.  

Returning to the Dallas area, Janicek worked for the Greyhound Bus Lines and retired after 37 years. He was a Master Mason and member of Dallas Lodge #760.  

Lou Janicek later lived in Irving, Texas, and passed away on February 2, 2003. He is buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Melba, who passed away seven days later.

Lou Janicek - P61 BlackWidow pilot

Date Added June 7, 2020

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