Friday, May 31, 2024

Morris Platte: Baseball Star, Soldier in War, Victim of Influenza


On the left of this photograph of the Shamrocks baseball team is Morris "Baldy" Platte, star pitcher for the 1914 Sandusky city champions. He accomplished much in his tragically short life.

Born in Sandusky in 1891, the son of Adolph and Mary, Morris Platte married Elsie Ramm when they were both teenagers. The couple had their first child in 1911, before he had turned twenty years old, and they had three more children in quick succession. (Sadly, their second child died at birth.) He supported his family in jobs that included delivering ice for the City Ice Company in town. But life wasn't all work; he had a passion for baseball, and played for teams including the Sandusky Tool Company team (below) and the Shamrocks, where he helped lead the team from the mound to the city championship.

But after the United States entered the Great War, Morris Platte chose to serve his country and joined the Army. He went to Camp Sherman in Chillicothe for training in July 1918, and quickly advanced up the ranks to Sergeant. Later, he was transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison for continued training. It was there that he faced the enemy that would defeat him.

During the First World War, nearly as many servicemen died from influenza as from war wounds. Approximately 45,000 died from the flu; 53,400 died in combat. Sadly, Morris Platte was one of the 45,000; he died on base in Indianapolis on October 9, 1918, about one month before the end of the war.

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