Quick post as I am still doing the research… Jim Mallory was born on this date in 1918 – growing up in Virginia. According to one source, he built up his strength working for a general store where he would help load large bags of flour. He attended the Fork Union Military Academy where he earned letters in five different sports, then went to the University of North Carolina and lettered in both baseball and football, where he was an end.
Signed by the woeful Washington Senators, Mallory’s first game with the Senators in 1940 was the first professional game he saw, though he did play some semi-pro baseball where he remembered getting $100 from the owner of the team after driving in all eight runs in an 8 – 7 championship game. Getting in four games, Mallory remembered getting trounced by the Yankees, but I looked it up and it was the Red Sox who put a 24 – 0 whuppin’ on Washington.
Sent to the minors, Mallory – like many players of the 1940s – put his career on hold to join the service and for a couple of years he trained young Air Force enlistees in physical fitness. As the war neared its end, Mallory was allowed to play ball and signed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played a couple of seasons in the minors, then was called up for a few games early in the 1945 season. The Cards didn’t have use for him and sold him to the New York Giants, where he hit .298 in limited opportunities, flashing a little leather and showing a little speed.
It was his last season in professional baseball – Mallory chose to return to the south. First, he taught and coached at Catawba College, then a high school, and then again at Elon College from 1948 to 1953. He moved to East Carolina University, where he coached for about ten seasons, winning the NAIA championship in 1961. When he wasn’t coaching, he was teaching and serving as an academic dean, a role he maintained into the 1980s. For a couple of years, he was seen hosting morning television shows in Greenville as well.
Mallory had a short career, but it was a successful one – and even more successful when you consider how he was able to help mentor thousands of young men for the better part of four decades after he played his last game for the Giants.
I’ll modify this after I get more time to do a little more research…