Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

June 14, 2014

Two homegrown four-star generals played baseball at WVU

MORGANTOWN — What would be the odds that a student athlete at one of the country’s institution of higher learning would go on to become a four-star general?

Well, not only one of those highest ranked military leaders, but two are graduates of West Virginia University.

Making this fact even more amazing — and appreciative — is that both played the same sport, baseball, as Mountaineers.

General Earl E. Anderson and General Leonard Perroots are retired now and residing in Virginia, not far outside of the nation’s capital.

Anderson, who turns 95 on June 24, reportedly is in fairly good health.

However, Perroots, who grew up in the Jerome Park area of Morgantown, is known to have a health problem. Friends called him “Lennie” when playing baseball at WVU.

According to WVU baseball publicist Grant Dovey, Anderson was a two-year starter in center field in 1939-40. His coach was Ira Errett Rodgers, a two-sport head mentor who also was the golf coach. He served a short stint as head football coach in the mid-1920s.

The lovable Rodgers, who also was known as “Rat,” was WVU’s first ever All-American as a fullback who graduated in 1919.

Perroots was a right-handed pitcher and second baseman as a Mountaineer in 1953 and 1954. He played for Steve Harrick, also a two-sport head coach (baseball and wrestling.)

Most memorable about Harrick is his 1960 baseball team finished 30-3, best in the program’s history.

Anderson, who served as a team captain his last year, had an impressive two-year batting average of .324 for his college career.

His statistics included 34 hits, 23 runs scored, and 20 runs batted in; (In those years, college teams played no more than 18 or 20 games).

Unfortunately, in searching available figures for General Perroots’ two seasons, Grant Dovey could only turn up two highlights. Those were a 2-0 pitching record and an earned run average of 3.18.

Both of these highly respected and dedicated four-star generals served gallantly in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and also participated in peacetime planning to help protect the United States.

Anderson, who has a law degree from George Washington University, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from his WVU graduation in 1940 to 1975 before retiring. He held numerous commands.

He is credited with 52 awards (26 distinct). In 1972, the general was promoted to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

When promoted to the ranks of general, Anderson was the second active duty Marine Naval Aviator to be promoted to a four-star rank.

With that significant four-star status on April 1, 1972, he became Assistant Commander of the entire Marine Corps.

Anderson is the recipient of WVU’s highest honor award – the Order of Vandalia. He also was honored here in the fall of 1998, serving as Honorary Parade Marshall of the Homecoming celebration in downtown Morgantown.

He is a member of the State Bar of California, the District of Columbia Bar, and the American Bar Association.

What’s more, General Anderson is entitled to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1973, the state of West Virginia chose him as Son of the Year.

As for General Perroots, he was honored one year at The Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Chico of Morgantown were invited to that memorable fete.

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