Wallace Wilford Kale – Infielder/Outfielder
Note: his is player biography is part of our feature, The 29th Infantry Division’s Blues and Grays: the men behind one of the Army’s best World War II baseball teams by Drew Sullins, Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army
Wallace Kale was from a prominent family in Charlotte, North Carolina. The family business, Kale Office Outfitters, Ltd., was established in 1925 and in business for nearly 75 years until it was sold. Wallace, who apparently went by his middle name of Wilford, ran the company from 1975 until his death in 1983 according to his obituary from the Charlotte Observer.
Wilford was an all-state high school football and baseball player who attended Duke University. He played baseball at Duke from 1940-43 and graduated that final year. He was a shortstop and pitcher for the Blue Devils and displayed home run power with the bat. According to his obituary, he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, but never played for them. It appears that starting a business career took precedence over baseball. The last time Kale likely played competitive baseball it was with the 29th Division team in 1945. It is not known exactly what position in the infield he played with the “Blue and Grays.”
As a college graduate from a prestigious school, and a well-off family, Kale likely could have gone into the Army as an officer and maybe avoided a combat assignment. He didn’t. He went in as a private and an infantryman. He was initially assigned to the Headquarters, 29th Infantry Division, but on June 28, 1944, 22 days after D-Day, he was transferred to B Company, 175th Infantry Regiment (1st Battalion). He was wounded in action on August 17, 1944, near Vire, France. He spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and recovering as he did not rejoin his unit until April 20, 1944, not long before VE-Day. He was promoted to Sergeant after he rejoined the unit. During his time in combat, he earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and two Bronze Star medals (one for valor) along with his Purple Heart medal.
Continue to George F. Ortega, Sr. – Catcher/Infielder