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Hall of Fame Military Spotlight Series: Charles Gehringer

Charles “Charlie” Gehringer, also known as the “mechanical man”, demonstrated precision efforts as a great second baseman for the Detroit Tigers, where he played his entire career from 1924 to 1942. He finished his baseball career with a lifetime batting average of .320, had more than 200 hits seven times, drove in more than 100 runs seven times, was the American League batting champion in 1937 with a .371 average, and was also a six time All-Star. Gehringer also served his country in WWII and embodied the principles that the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation upholds.

Gehringer joined the United States Navy in September 1942, initially serving as the head coach of the St. Mary’s Naval Pre-Flight School team in California during their 1943 season. There he coached Al Niemiec, a former Major League Baseball player.

While stationed at Jacksonville NAS, Gehringer told his Commanding Officer that he wanted to only coach but ended up coaching and playing for the Jacksonville NAS Fliers. After his service, Gehringer commented that the commanding officers took baseball extremely seriously. In Donald Honig's Baseball When the Grass was Real, Gehringer recalled: “Once we had a game scheduled at Montgomery Air Base, in Alabama, and they came and picked us up and flew us to Montgomery for the game and then flew us back again."

When Gehringer had entered the Navy in 1942, he thought that his Major League Baseball career was over since he was 39. However, when he was discharged in 1945, he said he was in the best shape that he had ever been in and thought he could have played longer. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander before being discharged after three years of service.

He became the Tigers General Manager from 1951 to 1953 and then their Vice

President. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.

Gehringer gave up a lot, sacrificing and fighting for our freedom. He is a model of someone who acts with valor, embodying the characteristics that Bob Feller held. Charles Gehringer was not only an important player for his efforts on the baseball diamond but also for his service to our country.



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