Team signs 100-year-old WWII vet who declined tryout to join Navy
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Bisons invited a promising young shortstop to try out for the team in the summer of 1942. But the man declined, citing his plans to enlist in the Navy and serve in World War II.
On Monday, the Bisons will finally get Roy Kinyon on the team. They plan to sign the 100-year-old shortstop to a one-day contract for the Fourth of July, honoring him 80 years after they first recruited him.
“It’s not often a minor league general manager gets to add a true American hero to his club’s roster,” general manager Anthony Sprague said in a press release. “But I am thrilled that we’ve come to terms with Roy on this one-day contract so that he can forever be part of the Buffalo Bisons team.”
Kinyon will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Bisons – the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays – host the Syracuse Mets at 6:05 p.m.
The Bisons said Kinyon was a two-sport high school star at Barker, captaining the baseball and basketball teams to championships in 1941. He reportedly posted a .741 batting average during his senior season while leading the team to an undefeated record.
Kinyon, an Appleton, N.Y. native, served in the Navy for four years and rose to the rank of Chief, Motorist Machinist, the team said. His vessel, the USS Shoshone, was an amphibious cargo assault ship active in the Pacific, they added.
“Kinyon was aboard his ship off the shores of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945 where he watched six US Marines raise an American flag atop the summit of Mount Suribachi,” the press released said.
The Bisons’ 26th Annual KeyBank Independence Night Celebration also features a performance from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra after the game, as well as the largest firework display of the season. Family Pack tickets are still available.