February 3, 2015


Walter Bahr's memories of late 1950 World Cup teammate Frank Borghi (GRANT WAHL, Feb. 3, 2015, Sports Illustrated)

Borghi, who would go on to own a funeral home in St. Louis, had already led an amazing life long before the 1950 World Cup. During World War II, he won a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, according to the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame. Bahr told me I should look up the World War II story about Borghi and another famous St. Louis resident, the Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Jack Buck. And so I spent part of the afternoon in the SI Library tracking down Buck's memoir, That's A Winner! (Sagamore Publishing, 1997).

In March 1945, during the final months of the war, Buck writes that he was assigned to K company, 47th regiment, 9th infantry division, and trucked to the front near the town of Remagen, Germany. On March 15, Buck was wounded (though not severely) by German shrapnel in the left arm and leg. A medic bandaged the wound and called for a jeep to pick Buck up.

In 1975, long after he became a famous broadcaster, Buck was the emcee at a banquet in St. Louis where Borghi was being honored. Buck writes:

"We were seated at the head table, and we talked about the 9th infantry division. I asked him what regiment he was in, and he said the 47th. I said I was also. I asked him what regiment he was in, and he said the 47th. I said I was also. I asked him what company he was in, and he told me he was in K company. So was I. I asked what he did in K company, and he told me he was a medic. I asked how many medics there were in K company after we crossed the Remagen Bridge. He told me he was the only one, because the other medic had been wounded. We determined that he was the medic who bandaged me the morning I was hit. That's unbelievable."

Frank Borghi saw duty in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and Germany. And though he was involved in one of the greatest upsets in sports history, it probably wasn't the most remarkable thing he achieved.

Posted by at February 3, 2015 8:01 PM

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