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February 27, 2011

Hank Bauer
National League East
Image by Judge Rock
Born in East St. Louis, IllinoisEast St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. As of the United States Census 2000, the city had a total population of 31,542, less than half its peak in 1959….
as the youngest of nine children, Bauer was the son of an AustrianAustrians
Austrians are a nation and an ethnic group originating from the Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian Kinship and descent….
immigrantImmigration to the United States
American immigration refers to the movement of World population to the United States. Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of history of the United States….
, a bartenderBartender
A bartender serves beverages behind a Bar in a Bar , Public house, tavern, or similar establishment. This usually includes alcoholic beverages of some kind, such as beer , wine, and/or cocktails, as well as soft drinks or other non-alcoholic beverages….
who had earlier lost his leg in an aluminum mill. With little money coming into the home, Bauer was forced to wear clothes made out of old feed sacks, helping shape his hard-nosed approach to life. (It was said that his care-worn face "looked like a clenched fist".)

Playing baseball and basketballBasketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five active players each try to score points against one another by propelling a basketball through a 10 feet high hoop under organized rules….
at East St. Louis Central Catholic High School, Bauer suffered permanent damage to his nose, caused by an errant elbow from an opponent. Upon graduation in 1941, he was repairing furnaces in a beer-bottling plant when his brother Herman, a minor league player in the Chicago White SoxChicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major North American professional sports teams baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox presently play in the American League’s American League Central in Major League Baseball….
system, was able to get him a tryout that resulted in a contract with OshkoshOshkosh, Wisconsin
Oshkosh is a city in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, Wisconsin, United States, located where the Fox River enters Lake Winnebago. The population was 62,916 at the United States Census, 2000; it had a metropolitan area of 159,972 people….
of the Class D Wisconsin State LeagueWisconsin State League
There was a class D league called the Wisconsin State League which began in 1905. In 1908 it changed its name to the Wisconsin-Illinois League. Another Wisconsin State League began in 1940, shut down for World War II from 1943 through 1945, then operated from 1946 through 1953….

World War II – Marine Corps

One month after the attack on Pearl HarborAttack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, later resulting in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II….
, Bauer enlisted in the U.S. Marine CorpsUnited States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing Military power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver Marine Air-Ground Task Force….
. While in the South PacificPacific Ocean theater of World War II
The Pacific Ocean theater was one of four major naval theatres of war of World War II, that pitted forces of the Empire of Japan against those of the United States, Commonwealth of Nations, the Dutch East Indies and Free_French_Forces#The_struggle_for_control_of_French_colonies….
, Bauer contracted malariaMalaria
Malaria is a Vector -borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites. It is widespread in Tropics and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa….
, but recovered enough to earn 11 campaign ribbons, two Bronze StarsBronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a Military of the United States individual Awards and decorations of the United States military which may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service….
and a pair of Purple HeartPurple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States Awards and decorations of the United States military awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the Military of the United States….
s in 32 months of combat. His second injury came during the Battle of OkinawaBattle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa Island and was the largest amphibious warfare in the Pacific War of World War II….
, when he commanded a platoon of 64 men. Only six survived the brutal siege, with shrapnel hitting Bauer in the thigh and sending him home.

After the war – Minor league
Returning to East St. Louis, he joined the local pipefitter’s union and stopped by a local bar where his brother Joe worked. Danny Menendez, a New York Yankees scout, signed him for a tryout with the team’s farm club in Quincy, IllinoisQuincy, Illinois
Quincy, Illinois, known as the "Gem City", is a city on the Mississippi River in Adams County, Illinois, Illinois, United States. As of the 2000 United States Census the city had 40,366 people and serves as the county seat of Adams County, Illinois….
. The terms: 5 a month (a increase if he made the team) and a 0 bonus.

Batting .300 at Quincy and with the team’s top minor league unit, the Kansas City BluesKansas City Blues
Kansas City Blues has been the name used by several sports teams in Kansas City, Missouri:* The Kansas City Blues were a National Football League team played in 1924 and were renamed the Cowboys in 1925….
, Bauer eventually made his debut with the Bronx Bombers in September .

Career as player, coach and manager
In a 14-season career, Bauer had a .277 batting averageBatting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball measuring the performance of batsman and hitter, respectively. The two statistics are related, in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages….
with 164 home runHome run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batting is able to circle all the bases, ending at home plate and scoring run for himself and each baserunning who was already on base, with no error by the defensive team on the play….
s and 703 RBIRun batted in
Run batted in or RBI is a baseball statistic used in baseball, softball and dartball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play….
in 1544 gamesGames played
Games played is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated ; the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested….
. He won the World SeriesWorld Series
The World Series is the championship series of Major League Baseball, the culmination of the sport’s playoff each October. Since the Series takes place in mid-autumn, sportswriters many years ago dubbed the event the Fall Classic, a usage reflected in the logo for the 2008 World Series; it is also sometimes known as the October Clas…
with the Yankees seven times and holds the World Series record for the longest hitting streakHitting streak
In baseball, a hitting streak refers to the consecutive number of official games in which a player gets at least one hit .According to the Official Baseball Rules, such a streak is ended when a player has at least 1 plate appearance and no hits….
, at 17 games. At the close of the 1959 season, Bauer was dealt to the Kansas City Athletics in the trade that brought future home run king Roger MarisRoger Maris
Roger Eugene Maris was an United States right fielder in Major League Baseball who is primarily remembered for breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record , in 1961 Major League Baseball season, a record that would stand for 37 years….
to the Bronx. This deal is often cited among the worst examples of the Yankees-A’s numerous trades during the late 1950s, which usually proved to be one-sided in New York’s favor.

In 1961, the year Maris broke Babe RuthBabe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , also popularly known as "Babe", "The Bambino", and "The Sultan of Swat", was an United States Major League Baseball baseball player from –….
‘s single-season home run record, Bauer, at 38 years of age, was coming to the end of the line. On June 19, he was named playing-manager of the Athletics, and he retired from the field a month later. In Bauer’s first stint at A’s pilot, through the end of the 1962 season, Kansas City won 107 games and lost 157 (.405) and twice finished ninth in the ten-team American League of the day.

After his firing at the close of the 1962 campaign, Bauer spent the 1963 season as first-base coachCoach (baseball)
In baseball, a number of coaches assist in the smooth functioning of a team. They are assistants to the manager , or head coach, who determines the lineup and decides how to substitute players during the game….
of the Baltimore Orioles. He was elevated to manager at the end of the season, as the Orioles sought a firmer hand in command of the team. The move was successful: Baltimore contended aggressively for the 1964 American League pennant, finishing third, and then — bolstered by the acquisition of future Hall of Fame outfielder Frank RobinsonFrank Robinson
Frank Robinson , is a former Major League Baseball player. He was an outfielder, most notably with the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles….
— its first AL pennant and World Series1966 World Series
The 1966 World Series matched the Baltimore Orioles against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Orioles sweeping the Series in four games to capture the first championship in franchise history….
championship in 1966. But when the Orioles, hampered by an injury to Robinson, finished in the second division in 1967 and then fell far behind the eventual champion Detroit TigersDetroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League’s eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit, Michigan in ….
in 1968, Bauer was released as manager on July 12, in favor of Earl WeaverEarl Weaver
Earl Sidney Weaver is a former Major League Baseball manager . He spent his entire managerial career with the Baltimore Orioles, managing the club from 1968 Baltimore Orioles season–1982 Baltimore Orioles season and 1985 Baltimore Orioles season–1986 Baltimore Orioles season….
, then Baltimore’s first-base coach. Weaver would forge a Hall of Fame career over the next 14½ years as the Orioles’ pilot.

Bauer then returned to Finley and the A’s, now in OaklandOakland, California
Oakland , founded in 1852, is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Alameda County, California. Oakland is approximately 8 miles east of San Francisco and the cities are separated by San Francisco Bay….
, for the 1969 campaign. He was fired for the second and final time by Finley after bringing Oakland home second in the new American League West Division. Overall, his regular-season managerial record was 594-544 (.522).

Bauer managed the Tidewater TidesNorfolk Tides
The Norfolk Tides are a minor league baseball team in the Triple-A International League. They play at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. Since 2007 they have been a farm team of the Baltimore Orioles; prior to that, they had a 38-year affiliation with the New York Mets….
, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York MetsNew York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball based in Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York. The Mets are a member of the National League East of Major League Baseball’s National League….
, in 1971-72. The Tides made the finals of IL Governors’ CupGovernors’ Cup
The Governors’ Cup is the trophy awarded each year to the champion of the International League, one of the two current Minor league baseball#Farm System level Minor league baseball of Major League Baseball….
playoffs each season, winning the playoff title in the latter campaign.

Bauer then hung up his uniform, returning home to the Kansas City area, where he scouted for the Yankees and the Kansas City RoyalsKansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals are a member of the American League Central of Major League Baseball’s American League….

Family life
Bauer moved to the Kansas City area (Prairie Village, Kansas) in 1949 after playing with the Blues of 1947 and 1948. While there, he met and later married Charlene Friede, the club’s office secretary. She died in July 1999.

The family’s children, including Hank, Jr. (also a great athlete and a chip off the old block in appearance, attended St. Ann’s Grade School in Prairie Village, and then Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

Hank owned and managed a liquor store in Prairie Village, Kansas for a number of years after retirement from baseball.

Bauer died in his Kansas City area home on February 9, 2007 at the age of 84 from lung cancer.(*).

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