1944-1946
CLEM DREISEWERD   P

Clem Dreisewerd was born on January 24, 1916, in Old Monroe, Missouri. At age 7, he found a copy of "The Sporting News" and with the help of an older brother, he ordered a book on how to throw a curve ball. From that time on, his only ambition in life was to be a professional baseball player.

He became a pitcher exclusively when he accidentally shot himself in the foot which reduced his mobility and it was not long before he was playing with all the semi pro teams in his small town. He quit school after the eighth grade and went to work for the C. B. & Q. Railroad as a section laborer and pitched for its team.

The Phillies saw Clem pitch and offered him a contract, but he was advised to wait for the Giants. Manager Bill Terry asked him to join the Giants and travel with them for two months to get the feel of the game, so he traveled with the club for two months at the beginning of the season.

At the end of that time, he began his professional career by signing with the Giants and was assigned to Nashville in the Class A Southern Association League whom immediately sent him to Greenville in the Class C East Dixie League. After two weeks, he was told that they could not pay him his salary and returned his contract to Nashville, so he was then sent to Jackson in the same Class C league.

During 1934, Clem pitched 71 innings in 12 games and in 1935, he started with Nashville, but was soon sent to Beckley in Middle Atlantic League, another Class C league. In 1936 he pitched in a higher league at Class A1 Memphis, but after he had lost 12 games and had an ERA around 6.00, he was sent back to Class C Greenwood in the Cotton States League. 

In the spring of 1937, he was assigned to Baltimore of the Class AA International League for spring training. He trained with Pensacola, of the Class B Southeastern League, but was told to report to Macon of the Class B South Atlantic League to begin the season. They did not have a place for him and Baltimore was asked to find him another assignment. This turned out to be Richmond in the Class B Piedmont League. Richmond was an independently owned team with a working agreement with the Giants. Clem had a good year in Richmond leading the league in strikeouts.

Clem felt he was getting the run-around so he asked for and received his free agency when he wrote a letter to the Commissioner at the end of the 1937 season. In this letter, Clem complained about the manner in which he had been moved around to other organizations, while under contract with the Giants and still being paid by the Giants. 

As a free agent, Clem now received offers from a number of teams and he accepted the Cardinalís offer. He was assigned to Columbus of the Class AA American Association League. Then after two weeks, he was sent to Asheville of the Class B Piedmont League where he played the 1938 season and part of the 1939 season. After about a month, he was sent to Mobile, also a Class B team in the Southeastern League. After a short stay, he was disappointed to be sent down to the Class C Portsmouth team in the Mid-Atlantic League, the same league he pitched in four years earlier. He was not happy but accepted the demotion and strove to develop more pitches.

In 1940, he compiled one of his best records in baseball, leading the league in wins with 23 and having an earned run average of 2.48. This earned him a promotion to Class AA Rochester for the 1941 season, which was another good one, with a winning record and a low ERA. His record with Rochester, in 1942, was one of his worst, with a record of 1 win and 14 losses.

With the war taking so many players in 1943, he was able to sign on with Sacramento of the Class AA Pacific Coast League. He lost twenty games in 1943 but turned things around in 1944, with 20 wins and an ERA of 1.61.

When the Red Sox showed an interest in him, Sacramento initially refused to let him go, as he was the biggest drawing card they had. Finally, he made his major league debut with the Red Sox in August 1944. After appearing in only two games for the Red Sox, however, he was drafted and ordered to report to the induction center in Fort Devens, Mass.

In May 1945, he was sent to the United States Naval Training Station in Sampson, New York, as an apprentice seaman. As he was being issued his gear at Sampson, he was pulled out of line and taken to the ball field. He pitched his first game for the base team that day. Such was the competition for ball players among the service teams during the war.

Whether it was to promote the morale of the sailors being trained or to boost the egos of the Administration is uncertain, but every effort was made by all training stations to recruit the best available baseball talent. A team representing the Sampson Naval Station began its schedule in May, playing mainly local amateur or semi-pro teams, colleges and some teams from lower minor leagues.

As an older professional athlete in a boot company with 17 and 18-year-olds, Clem adopted a paternal attitude. When the war ended, he was transferred to Pensacola, Florida near his New Orleans home and he finished out his service obligation, playing baseball in Florida.

Clem was released from the Navy in time for the start of the 1946 season with the Red Sox. He had a 4-win, 1-loss season for the Sox in 1946, pitching in relief except for one start. In 1947, he was sent down to the Red Sox Class AAA farm team in Louisville. There, he led the American Association with 18 wins and 2.15 ERA. He lost only seven games and renegotiated a new contract with the Red Sox. But before the 1948 season began, he was traded to the Browns. 

After 12 games with the Browns, he was sent back to the Giants. After four games with the Giants, it was back to the minor leagues with Minneapolis of the American Association, where he completed the 1948 season. 

During the offseason, he tried winter baseball in Venezuela, which was a disaster, because after a month, they were caught in a revolution. 

In the spring of 1949, he went to Seattle, where he developed severe arm problems and was released after a month. He though the climate and conditions in Sacramento were more conducive to recover, so when his arm did not improve in Sacramento, his family returned to New Orleans.

In the spring of 1950, he began thinking of baseball and spring training. After a month, his arm did not improve, but he thought he could still play. Finally, brief trials with Birmingham and Baton Rogue convinced him that his baseball career was finished.

Since Clem and his family had decided to make New Orleans their permanent home, they bought property there. While deciding what they were going to do with the rest of their lives, he began construction of a house. This went so well that he joined the Carpenterís Union. Clem and his family continued in the construction business, building homes and apartment buildings.

By 1999, Clem became legally blind with macular degeneration. Then, while on a vacation with his wife, he fell on the steps at the bed and breakfast where they were staying, hit his head, and died. Clem Dreisewerd passed away at age 85, on September 11, 2001, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

0