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May 28, 2024 Frank Saucier, MLB Navy Veteran and Texas Oil Wildcatter turns 98

Happy 98th to “Frank” Saucier, former outfielder for the St. Louis Browns and the fourth-oldest living MLB player who served in WWII and the Korean War. Saucier was born on a Missouri dairy farm and founded a fur-trapping business at age 10. At 18, he became one of the youngest deck officers commissioned in the Navy, where Frank joined the Scouts and Raiders amphibious warfare commando team, ancestors of today’s SEALs.

Like a ping pong ball, Frank bounced between Westminster College MO (home of Churchill's Iron Curtain speech), the Navy and baseball where he was managed Rogers Hornsby and played with and against Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Bob Feller, and “Cuban Comet” Minnie Miñoso, along with Dr. Bobby Brown, Eddie Robinson, and Satchel Paige, Saucier’s locker mate in 1951.

That year Saucier made headlines from a PR stunt crafted by Bill Veeck to generate buzz about the Browns. To this day fans recall the show biz act when 60-pound, 3-foot-seven pinch hitter Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player to ever swing a MLB bat, was sent to pinch hit for Saucier at Sportsman’s Park.

As the greatest generation disappears, Saucier is a member of the “one percent club,” made up of the last survivors of the 16 million men and women who served in WWII.

He represents an era when MLB players took blue-collar jobs in construction and worked in the blistering-hot oil fields, where Frank became a “wildcatter,” investing his baseball earnings to drill for oil when crude sold for about $3 a barrel.

When the St. Louis Brownie returned to baseball after the Korean War, Frank made the unimaginable choice to leave MLB for a low-paying job as a landman, knocking on landowners’ doors to secure drilling rights for Humble Oil & Refinery Co. in Tyler, Texas. Frank had a great run in the oil business, then he pivoted to finance, where he worked for Merrill Lynch until he retired at age 85.


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