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Ernie Groth

Baseball ∙ Beaver Falls

 

 

 

 

Ernie Groth began his baseball career as a standout pitcher and hitter for the Beaver Falls Tigers, and ended it 16 years later with the Oklahoma City Indians of the old Texas League. In between, he had a three year stint with the Army in World War II with an amphibious unit in the Pacific theater that landed Marines on Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa. Ernie's first professional baseball experience came with Appleton in the Wisconsin League in 1941 and his career was quickly interrupted by the war. He did not return to baseball until 1946 when he was signed by Wilkes-Barre in the Eastern League. Ernie was 13-7 that year, and when he wasnít pitching played right field and batted for a .337 average. In 1947 Ernie became the first Beaver Falls native to enter the major leagues. He had starred the season with Oklahoma City but was later called up by the parent Cleveland Indians, quite an achievement since the Indians were just a year away from winning the World Series with a fine pitching staff that included Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Mel Harder, and Don Black. Ernie stayed with the Indians until 1949 when Cleveland traded him to the Chicago White Sox, where he began to develop back problems so the Sox sold him to Kansas City in the American Association. Despite worsening back problems, Ernie managed to win 12 games with Kansas City. The Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League acquired Ernie in 1950, and he won seven games in a row to spark the team to a pennant. His back problems were actually caused by abscessed teeth, and Ernie was able to resume his career with Oklahoma City in 1951. His 15-6 record that season helped Oklahoma City to win the Texas League title. He remained with the team for the next five years as a pitcher and pinch hitter, finally retiring in 1956.