Augie: Stalag Luft VI to the Major Leagues

Augie: Stalag Luft VI to the Major Leagues

by John Bacchia

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The incredible, never-before-told story of Augie Donatelli—a man fellow umpires consider a legend.

Coalmines … Bombers … and Baseball …

Emmy Award-winning sportswriter/producer John Bacchia shares the incredible, never-before-told story of Augie Donatelli—one of Major League Baseball’s unsung men in blue. A coal miner from Bakerton, Pennsylvania, Donatelli served his country as a tail gunner aboard a B-17 and found his life’s calling in the bleak confines of a Nazi prison camp.

When Army Air Corps Sta? Sergeant Donatelli umpired softball games to boost morale for his fellow airmen at Stalag Luft VI, little did he know he was taking ?edgling steps towards becoming one of the most respected umpires in baseball history. However, prior to the end of the war, he would be subjected to a brutal “black march” across war-torn Europe before orchestrating a daring escape.

Less than a decade after serving his country, Donatelli found himself at the pinnacle of his profession—umpiring in the 1955 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees. Hardened by his war experiences and his years of working in the coal mines, Donatelli hustled on the baseball diamond as if his life depended on it. He gave his heart and soul to the game he loved. Yet despite finding his dream occupation, Donatelli voluntarily put his career and livelihood in jeopardy, as he and his fellow umpires, Shag Crawford, Jocko Conlan, Al Barlick, and others, spearheaded the formation of the first umpires’ union, the Major League Umpires Association.

Cover Photo: Yankee manager Casey Stengel and Augie Donatelli standing toe-to-toe during an exhibition game, April 13th, 1951. Copyright Bettman/CORBIS

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462007264
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/19/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

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Augie: Stalag Luft VI to the Major Leagues 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Bacchia has written an astonishing story that needed to be brought forth to the baseball world. Augie Donatelli was a great and kind man and outstanding umpire in the National League for almost a quarter of a century. He gave his heart and soul to his family, country and to the great game of baseball! Reading the book, I was amazed at how tough a man he was, working in the coal mines as a youngster and his unbelievable survival of WW II. Bacchia has given us a great baseball book as well as a tremendous account of history and its harsh realities. It's without a doubt the best book ever written about a sports official.
JT21 More than 1 year ago
Great book detailing the life of umpire Augie Donatelli from his life as a coal miner in Pennsylvania, his service during WWII as a tail gunner on a B-17, capture by the Germans and imprisonment as a POW, to his rise as a major league baseball umpire in only four years. A scaled down version of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. Several fascinating stories from baseball's golden era of the 50's & 60's. Was somewhat disappointed however that author Bacchia never took a stand on Ray Fosse's tag on Bud Harrelson during game 2 of the 1973 World Series in which Donatelli called Harrelson out. Replay looking up the 3rd base line clearly shows Fosse missing Harrelson's hip by three inches.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a longtime baseball fan "Augie Donatelli" is a name that brings me back to my younger days. I think younger fans probably never heard of him. I was expecting a ton of baseball anecdotes. (great stories about Stan the Man, Mays,Jackie Robinson) The book is full of those. I was very surprised by the detailed experiences during WWII. Its a miracle he survived. He lived through 3 or 4 plane wrecks, 3 Nazi Prison Camps, a death march, then after all that, he had to put up with Leo "the Lip" Durocher's madness. Donatelli started out as a coal miner and was a great big league umpire. This is a very inspirational, wonderfully written sports story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Bacchia's account of Augie Donatelli's biography is an extremely well written, interesting, and inspiring novel that all baseball and non baseball fans will love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago