When he first heard a baseball game on his grandmother's radio, Bert Shepard, who died on June 16 at age 87, knew he'd found his passion. As a teen, the Indiana native traveled across the country, pitching for minor league teams until World War II intervened. In 1944, during his 34th mission as a P-38 fighter pilot, Shepard was gunned down outside Berlin. When he awoke days later behind German lines, his leg had been amputated to save his life. The loss did not dampen Shepard's love for baseball. On his return to the U.S. in 1945, he earned a spot with the then Washington Senators, pitching batting practice and exhibition games--boosting the morale of fellow veteran-amputees. But one August afternoon, he took the mound against the Boston Red Sox, becoming the first man with an artificial leg ever to pitch in a major league game. Shepard struck out his first batter and held his own for more than five innings, giving up only three hits. It would be his only major league appearance, but to him it was a dream realized. "Goddammit," he recalled thinking at the time, "I'm in the ball game!"