Mike Balas

From BR Bullpen

130 pix

Mitchell Francis Balas
born Mitchell Francis Balaski

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Mike Balas pitched just one game in his major league career, with the Boston Bees in 1938. His minor league career ran from 1933 to 1940, including two years with the Indianapolis Indians, his longest stay with one team.

Mike was known by his birth name of Balaski (and variant spellings thereof) in his first seasons in organized baseball, until playing for the Scranton Miners of the New York-Penn League in 1937, where he began using the shortened Balas. The discrepancy between the two names led to the league office threatening to have all games he pitched forfeited, but League President Perry Farrell ruled there was no intent to confuse and that all records should be attributed to Mike Balas from that point. The name change seemed to do wonders for his pitching, as he impressed Bees manager Casey Stengel in spring training 1938 and headed north with the team. He got his only chance to pitch in a blow-out loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 27th. Boston was already trailing, 9-0, when he came to the mound with two outs in the 8th; he completed the inning with no further damage, but was rocked for 3 runs on 3 hits in the 9th, 2 of the runs being unearned as his teammates committed a pair of errors. Mike was sent to the Hartford Laurels of the Eastern League soon after and never returned to the big leagues.

He was one of a very small number of professional ballplayers to be granted conscientious objector status during World War II. He was a Jehovah's witness and married a few months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He refused to register under the Selective Service Act because of his religious beliefs, at a time when objectors were very poorly regarded by the general public. He appeared in court in November 1942 for violating the Selective Service Act and was sentenced to three years in prison (although it is not clear how much time he actually served). After the war, he settled in Westford, MA, near his birthplace of Lowell, MA, where he was a carpenter and later started a small construction company. Mike died there in 1996.

Related Sites[edit]