Veteran’s Day–Leonard A. Wattelet

11 Nov

Leonard A. Wattelet‘s professional career lasted just two games as a 19-year-old with the Seattle Siwashes in the Pacific Coast League in 1906.  He continued playing in amateur and semi-professional leagues in Texas and California, until 1911 when he gave up playing for management, and purchased an interest in the Victoria Bees in the newly formed Northwestern League.

The Sporting Life called him “the youngest magnate in baseball,” and during his first two seasons with the organization he served as secretary, business manager and treasurer of the team and became president after the 1912 season.

Wattelet and his partner sold the team at the beginning of the 1914 season, and he remained a club executive through the end of the 1915 season.

In August of 1917 he was commissioned a captain in the Officer’s Reserve Corps and sent to Camp Lewis, Washington where he was placed in charge of the camp’s baseball program.

Leonard A. Wattelet, second from left with other sports directors at Camp Lewis 1917

Leonard A. Wattelet, second from left with other sports directors at Camp Lewis 1917

Many current and former big leaguers played at Camp Lewis under his leadership including; Ralph “Hap” Myers, Jim “Death Valley” Scott, John “Red” Oldham, John “Duster” Mails, Lou Guisto, Charlie Mullen, Harry Kingman,  Charles “King” Schmutz, and dozens of West Coast professionals.

In 1918 Wattelet went to France with the 364th Infantry Regiment, 91st Division, U.S. Army.  On October 31, 1918 he was killed in action and was buried at Flanders Field American Cemetery in Belgium.

Word of his death did not reach the states until December 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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