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United States/Covers & Postmarks : A WWII APO and Baseball Mystery!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
08 Oct 2021
10:49:26am
I've always been attracted to those large boxes of random covers. Like Forrest Gump would say, "Ya never know what you're gonna get!" So I have tons of covers and such. I'm only now sorting a lot of these and even putting covers up for sale on eBay.

I found a cache of World War II APO mail. Sent to folks back home. It was no doubt someone's APO collection because they wrote the place of origin in pencil on most of the items. I found a WWII APO guide pdf on the Internet some time back, so in checking these he was spot on.

In going through these, I'm spending more time enjoying the covers and reading the enclosed letters that sorting them! Which means I keep more than I sell! And that leads to our current mystery!

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Exhibit A. A fairly clean cover (a lot of them are all ragged from rough opening and/or age). It was mailed by a Sgt. James Green from APO 159 (New Guinea). It's addressed to Mr Al Abrams, of the Pittsburgh Gazette in Pennsylvania. So good so far.

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And here's the APO listing. Although the postmark last year digit is unreadable, the cover is from 1944, since the writer mentions he's in New Guinea.

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Here's the letter... I was just reading a normal letter until I got to "when I entered professional baseball"! So I started to do some research...

I couldn't find James Green as a professional baseball player. Best I could find was a James Owen Green born in 1936 (he'd be 8 years old in 1944) who was part of the Negro League.

Al Abrams was easy.. He lived 1904-1977 and was a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette from 1926 until his death in 1977. That would make him 73, so I guess he liked his job! The newspaper is still published today.

The paper does have online archives, but wants $8 a month to access them. Same with Ancestry. I would love to search Abrams columns looking for mention of Green.

Green mentions Midland High. There is no such school in Pennsylvania, even checking for old views and postcards on eBay there was only a Midland High in Michigan.

Green's service record, via his Army Serial Number was lucrative. He was born in 1922 and enlisted in the army on Dec 28 1942: "Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law."

He is listed as married and his full name was James M. Green Junior. He was white. He enlisted as a private, and was a Sargent in 1944 according to his own handwriting.

Soooo... what was his baseball career? And what else can we find?







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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
08 Oct 2021
02:36:24pm
re: A WWII APO and Baseball Mystery!

"Professional" doesn't necessarily mean the major leagues. in fact, at 20, when he enlists, it would be unlikely he'd have made it through minor leagues to a major league team by then (figure 2 years playing pro ball, max).

I searched Baseball Reference's minor league stats, and, expecting to wade through 50 or so James Greens, found none (one Jim Green in 1884; and one "green" without first name, in 1940; there were other Greens, just not James or Jim).

A second search came up with: https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=green-006jam playing for Greenville.

and a pitcher who played for Zanesville: https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=green-005jam

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partsguy
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08 Oct 2021
11:23:30pm
re: A WWII APO and Baseball Mystery!

Midland School District is located in Beaver County, PA outside of Pittsburgh. Midland's high school is called Lincoln (opened in 1927), the sports teams known as the Leopards. They have a sports hall of fame facebook page, and the old photos there show their uniforms read MIDLAND. Their yearbook is called the Rodis, but I can't find anything searchable prior to 1947.
A possible contemporary of Green would be Arthur "Tubby" Petrosky, Lincoln class of 1939, who also went on to play pro or semi-pro ball. Petrosky's obituary mentions him playing for the "Midland USW" team in 1937, so he would have been in high school then. Assuming Green was a year younger than Petrosky, they likely played together, and Green possibly graduated from Lincoln in 1940.
I found a veteran's compensation record on Ancestry, looks like his birthday would be Sunday.Image Not Found
That's all I can scare up without paid access to other archives.... maybe it will help someone else pick up the ball.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
09 Oct 2021
10:35:07am
re: A WWII APO and Baseball Mystery!

Quote:

"maybe it will help someone else pick up the ball."



way to keep the metaphor in play
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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
10 Oct 2021
03:34:32pm
re: A WWII APO and Baseball Mystery!

Wow Tom! Amazing!
That's our guy! My enlistment information shows him joining up on Dec 28 1942.. and yours shows January 4 1943, which would have been the Monday after the New Year's holiday!

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