WWII vet who missed chance to become baseball pro due to service gets one-day contract on 4th of July

A lot of young men had to give up their dreams during the years of war to serve their country. Roy Kinyon was one of them, he gave up his chance at becoming a professional baseball player to serve during World War Two!

Now he is getting a second chance at what he always wanted…

Roy Kinyon of Lockport, New York turned 100 years old recently. His family threw him a party that featured baseball as the Centurian has a love for the sport.

His love for baseball has existed for a while. In his youth, he helped his brother Ralph train for the game as the older Kinyon aspired to play for the Yankees.


“He wanted to pitch for the Yankees, so every day I was out catching them so he could pitch for the Yankees,” Roy Kinyon remembers. As he helped his brother train, his own game got significantly better.

His high school team won the Niagara Orleans Championship for two years in a row. In the summer of 1942, he went on to play with Krull Park.

His son narrates the story he has probably heard countless times, “Right at the end of the season, that’s when the Bisons offered him to come up for a tryout,” Bruce Kinyon said

Roy said he had to decline the offer. “I said, ‘Oh, I’d like it, but I’m going to join the Navy tomorrow,’ so I left for the Navy,” Roy recalls.


He knew his number would be called soon to serve in World War II andthis he decided to enlist himself rather than wait. In 1945, he was at the frontlines of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Remembering the battle makes him emotional even today.

He still remembers that day clearly and talks about how it sent chills down his spine. Oh no. Do you ever have chills go up your back? On the fifth day, the flag went up. Then the Japanese blew it up. The flag went up a second time, and all the ships around the island blew their horns. That’s when I got the chills,” he says while holding back tears.

And now as he turns 100 years old, the veteran is going to become an official Bison. He is very excited about it and is calling the event his “second thrill” after the Battle of Iwo Jima. “I’d say it’s my second thrill. My second thrill,” he says about the upcoming major event.

The assistant general manager for the Buffalo Bisons, Brad Bisbing, is also excited about the event. “We will give him a one-day contract here. Roy will sign it in front of everyone in the stands before the first pitch. He will be able to get his jersey with his name and number on the back, and then be able to do the first pitch,” he says. “He’ll forever be a Bison,” he added. 

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Bruce Kinyon says there will be about 30 people in the stands there supporting Roy. “We’ll all be wearing the Roy Kinyon ‘100’ hats from his birthday party,” he says.

However, two important people will be missing from the scene. Roy’s older brother Ralph and his wife of 65 years Theresa both passed away a while ago.

Theresa cared for Bill at Buffalo General. Roy emotionally recalls his late wife, “This one nurse would come give me shots and it wouldn’t hurt. We married a year later.”

Roy Kinyon is truly an American hero and is being rightly honored on Independence Day.

Share this heartwarming story with your friends and family to tell them about Roy’s sacrifice for our country and how the veteran is being honored!