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RIP Cecil Travis

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by buckweaver, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    ATLANTA (AP)— Cecil Travis, a hard-hitting former farm boy whose career was interrupted by service in World War II, has died.

    Travis died Saturday at his home in Riverdale, Ga., just south of Atlanta, according to Carmichael-Hemperly Funeral Home. He was 93.

    Travis, a shortstop for the Washington Senators, batted .314 for his career and had an American
    League-leading 218 hits in 1941 — the same year Ted Williams batted .406 and the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio had a hit in 56 consecutive games.

    “It was almost a dream year,” Travis once told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I knew all season I was on borrowed time."

    On Christmas Eve 1941, Travis received his induction notice and went to serve in World War II. Travis served much of the war as a foot soldier and suffered frostbite on two toes while serving with the 76th Infantry in France. He didn’t return until the final few weeks of the 1945 season.

    Travis hit .359 the year before the war and .252 in his first season afterward.

    Travis twice finished in the top 10 in MVP voting and was selected to three All-Star teams. The Sporting News
    named him the best shortstop in the Major Leagues in 1941.

    He died at his home on the same farm where he grew up and where he was helping his father farm when he was
    discovered by an Atlanta baseball scout.
  2. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    I believe his feet froze during the Battle of the Bulge. Cut short what could have been a great career.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    He was well on his way. Helluva start to his career, culminating in a Hall of Fame peak at age 27 in 1941. Had a ton of good years left, if not for the war.
  4. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Thanks for posting this, BW.

    Your last statement could stand as a career epitaph for a lot of players.
  5. Bump - considering that the Battle of the Bulge happened this time of year 62 years ago - this should be seen by as many board members as possible.
  6. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Just to confirm - for those who care - he did fight at the Battle of the Bulge, and that's where his toes were frozen. Travis also earned a Bronze Star in World War II.

    Nice four-year old article on him here: http://www.baseballtoddsdugout.com/ceciltravis.html

    He didn't blame the war on his fall-off upon his return to the game.

    Also, via the BR Bullpen on baseball-reference.com:

    Using two Bill James tools, the Favorite Toy and the Hall of Fame standards test, we see that Cecil Travis projected to 2843 hits and a .332 career batting average after the 1941 season. He also projects to 511 doubles, 179 triples, and 64 home runs. His Hall of Fame standards score is between 58 and 60. Had he finished with these statistics, Travis could have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

    (By the way, Bob Feller plans on stumping for Travis for the Hall, but some of that is due to Travis' war record.)
  7. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    For a column, I spent a morning with Cecil on his farm some years ago. A delight. I went there because Ted Williams had told me Cecil should be in the Hall of Fame. He liked the thought, Cecil did, but wouldn't pursue it with me. Too humble. From the silent generation of American men. Just happy to have been a player. Nor would he talk about WWII (other than to deny it had anything to do with his career being shortened; as far as he would go is to say the time away, almost 4 years, might have cost him the edge needed to play at the higheest level). When we spoke, he lived on land he'd worked as a child 70 years earlier. Sitting with him was one of my favorite moments in this business.
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