lames L. Ray
World War II interrupted Ed Chandler’s dream of pitching in the Major Leagues, but the time he spent in the service proved to be a blessing. It was there, with the guidance of two Major League pitchers, that Chandler truly learned to pitch. The scouts were interested, but it was unlikely they would sign a twenty-nine-year-old prospect. Certainly, there was nothing Chandler could do about his age—or was there?
Edward Oliver Chandler was born in Pinson, Alabama, a small town twenty miles northeast of Birmingham. Although baseball reference works have usually listed Chandler’s birth date as February 17, 1922, U.S. census records, army enlistment records, and family members indicate he was actually born on January 31, 1917. Chandler’s parents were William M. and Susie Caroline Chandler. The Chandlers had fourteen children; Edward was the seventh of nine sons. Nine boys is the perfect number for a baseball team, allowing the Chandler brothers to field teams in amateur and semipro leagues around the Birmingham area.
By 1941 Eddie, as he was known, was working as a traveling salesman. While on a trip to southern Idaho, he tried out for the Class C affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The tryout was successful, and on August 26 he signed to play for the Pocatello Cardinals of the Pioneer League. The sixfoot-two, 190-pound right-hander made only four appearances for the Cardinals. He posted a record of 1–1 and was advised to give up baseball. Undeterred, Chandler attended Idaho Southern University (now Idaho State) and played on the Bengals baseball team. While his overall record for ISU is not known, it is known that in one game in 1944, Chandler struck out nineteen batters through nine innings and twenty-three overall when the game was declared a tie after twelve innings.
Ed Chandler made the club out of spring training but was
returned to the Minors on June 17.
World War II interrupted many careers, and Chandler’s was no exception. Eddie enlisted on September 19, 1944, and served in the Pacific with the Army Air Corps for the remainder of the war. About this time Chandler married the former Ferne Streveler, an Iowa native. (It was the second marriage for Eddie.) The newly married Chandlers were living in Los Angeles, where Ferne gave birth