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Wally Jakowczyk

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history

Description: One typed page including photograph; biography of Wally Jakowczyk, athlete. Other individuals mentioned include Ray Brubaker, Barbara J. Brown, John Brown, Iona Brown, Jack Jakowczyk, Elaine Jakowczyk, Gary Grohovsky, Patti Reed, Ryan Jakowczyk, Eric Jakowczyk, Melissa Grohovsky, Brad Grohovsky.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.Wally JakowczykNearly 57 years after graduating from St. Mary High School in Flint, Mich., Wally Jakowczyk is remembered as the best athlete the academy ever produced. Born Dec. 22, 1923, Jakowczyk earned four high school letters in both football and basketball and two in baseball. He would have earned more, but St. Mary dropped baseball during World War II. In the 1942 football season, he scored 93 points, rushing for 12 touchdowns and passing for three more, to lead St. Mary to an undefeated season and become the first parochial school athlete named to an All-Michigan backfield. Then he steered St. Mary to the 1943 state basketball finals, scoring 61 points in one game. Yet baseball was Wallys favorite sport. While still attending high school, he played in the tough Flint City adult league. The 1942 Flint Samos, for which he excelled, was the second team in history to finish the season undefeated. In 1943 Wallys East Side Merchants won the Michigan amateur title. Jakowczyk was among the leagues top hitters each year. Declared ineligible by Selective Service in 1944 due to an old football injury, he was able to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1945 he hit .289 for Utica in the Class A Eastern League and was selected center fielder on the All-Star team. Jakowczyk batted .294 in 1946 a season shortened when he collided with a light pole while chasing a fly ball. When respected baseball mentor Ray Brubaker was assigned to guide the Terre Haute Phillies of the Three-I League in 1947, he predicted future stardon for Jakowczyk. One of the most popular players ever to don a Terre Haute uniform, Wally responded by hitting .333, 14 home runs and garnering 92 RBIs. On July 1, 1948 during a long hitting streak Jakowczyks finger was shattered by an errant pitch, shortening his playing time. Disillusioned, Wally signed with a high-paying Mexican League outlaw team without major league affiliation. When the league folded, he joined Granby, Quebec, of the Canadian Provincial League. Until he retired from baseball in 1953, he played in several other leagues, including the Southern Minnesota League and the Georgia-Florida League. Popular with fans, he was called Wally Jako in some locales. In 1951 while still playing pro baseball Wally wed Barbara J. Brown of Terre Haute, daughter of John and Iona Brown. The Jakowczyks made Terre Haute their permanent residence 42 years ago to raise children Jack and Elaine (now Mrs. Gary Grohovsky of Russellville, Ky.). For many years, Wally was a foreman at Anaconda Aluminum (later Alcan). Jack Jakowczyk and his wife, formerly Patti Reed, have two sons, Ryan and Eric. Elaine has a daughter and son, Melissa and Brad. On Dec. 3, 1994, Wally was inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame. Barbara died Oct. 27, 1995. Lately, Wallys primary residence has been Sebring, Fla.TERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate published: July 20, 2000Filename: Jakowczyk, Wally profile
Origin: 2000-07-19
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Jakowczyk, Wally, b. 1923
Baseball players
Football players
Basketball players

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