Oscar Bielaski - 1st Polish Major Leaguer

At 50 Alexander Bielaski joined the Union forces with the rank of Captain in the regular army. He did so with a deep sense of loyalty to his adopted country, leaving behind him a family of seven.

While the official reports echoed with glowing accounts of Capt. Alexander Bielaski's heroic death on the battlefield of Missouri, on November 7, 1861, stark tragedy stalked the Bielaski home in Washington. The older Bielaski children sought immediate employment.

During the war's long stalemates between action, baseball was played by the soldiers and Drummer-Boy Bielaski seemed to be quite adept at it. Interest in the game mushroomed after the war, so much so that in 1867 a group of government clerks and college students, representing the Nationals of Washington D.C., made the first crosscountry trip of some 3,000 miles, playing the best local teams enroute.

Oscar Bielaski quickly became a good ball player, much in demand. He hit the jackpot by becoming a member of the famous White Stocking Championship team of 1876, which won the first National League pennant.

Oscar Bielaski, our first PolishAmerican big leaguer, was a whole generation ahead of his time, before the likes of Jack (Picus) Quinn, 1903, and the Coweleski brothers, Harry and Stanley, 1907 and 1912 respectively, made their major league debuts. He found his final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery.