Profiles of Valor
Lucius “Luke” Appling, born on April 2, 1907, is a true hero on and off the diamond for his service to our country in the United States Army as well as his incredible career with the Chicago White Sox.
After only a brief stint in Oglethorpe College ended during his sophomore year because Appling was signed by the minor league Atlanta Crackers in 1930. He demonstrated his abilities as a strong hitter and was called up to make his debut months later with the Chicago White Sox for $20,000. He then played his entire career with the White Sox. He led the American League with a .388 batting average in 1936 and again in 1943 with a .328 average.
Following his second American League Batting Title in 1943, Appling missed the 1944 season and majority of the 1945 season as he decided to enlist in the Army and serve in World War II. He is quoted saying “ducking bullets can’t me muchworse than ducking some of those bad hops in the infield”. He managed and played for the Camp Lee Travelers, the baseball team of the camp he was stationed at. He was restationed to Lawson General Hospital and played there for the station’s baseball team for two seasons.
Following his discharge in August of 1945 due to being over the age of 38, Vice President Garry Grabiner of the White Sox said “we certainly can use him. I hope he’s ready to play when he gets here” and Appling was up for the challenge. He retired as a player in 1950 and moved on to managing in the Minor Leagues where he won pennants with Memphisin the Southern Association and Indianapolis of the American Association and was named minor league manager of the year in 1952. Appling was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.
We are honored to share stories of his legacy in baseball and the Army and the sacrifice he made for his country.