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06/22/08 4:05 PM ET

Shepard passes away at 87

Pitcher hurled in Majors after having leg amputated in WWII

WASHINGTON -- Former Major League left-hander Bert Shepard passed away Monday at the age of 87. Shepard, a fighter pilot in World War II who had his right leg amputated below the knee, became a famous and inspirational figure when he returned from the war and briefly played professional baseball for the Washington Senators in 1945 as a pitcher and first baseman.

Born on June 28, 1920, in Dana, Ind., Shepard pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief for Washington in a loss to the Red Sox on Aug. 4, 1945. The left-hander allowed just one run and struck out three.

Shepard went on to play a few years in the Minor Leagues. He struck out Stan Musial and Yogi Berra, and also once got a hit off Bob Feller.

Shepard moved to California later in life, and became an avid golfer. He won the 1968 and '71 national amputee golf championships.

Shepard died at a nursing home in Highland, Calif., and his cause of death has not yet been determined. He is survived by four children -- Penny, Karen, Preston and Justin -- three brothers and nine grandchildren.

Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.