Phoenixville’s Own Nick Basca
Yes! The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants yesterday. 34 to 17! What an exciting game! They
are on a flight to the playoffs! Nick Basca, who played the 1940-1941 season with them, would have been proud!
“Who,” you ask, “is Nick Basca?” Fair question. The answer is…
Michael Martin Basca, a native of Phoenixville, PA, who is still, to this day, deemed a local hero. Born on December 4, 1916,
he earned his [pardon the pun] nickname “Nickels” as a young lad chasing foul balls for local baseball players
and receiving a nickel for each one retrieved. “Nickels” was later shortened to “Nick”…
Even from grade school (Sacred Heart), Nick Basca was an outstanding athlete playing baseball
as well as football and making a name for himself as a legendary gridiron star during high school (Phoenixville and Pennington
Prep) and college (Villanova) before signing on with the Eagles. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Nick
enlisted and, after two years training stateside, was sent to France as part of the 4th Armored Division. He died
a hero just outside Hampont on November 11, 1944.
you can read more and all about him in a fascinating detailed account of his life and times in Phoenixville's Own Nick Basca by Dorothy L. Jaworski, a Senior Vice President in the banking industry who, having written three previous historical
books about her father’s and uncle’s military service, has become quite the expert on WWII battles and stratagems.
During a recent trip to France, she was asked by a native if she had ever heard of Nick Basca… the impetus for her
Dorothy was kind enough to send me a copy of her latest literary endeavor
which I received just before Christmas Day and, believe it or not, spent Christmas and Boxing Day afternoons reading it. I
have to admit that while I am the author of six historical novels of Phoenixville and supposedly steeped in the village’s
diverse history, I had no idea who Nick was… But then, my focus has not been on sports or modern-day warfare…
However, while reading Dorothy’s account of his life and short-live military career, I was immersed in military maneuvers
as well as football… Not to mention learning about facets of local history of which I was not aware.
Although she is not a member of the Basca family, Dorothy unselfishly steeped herself
into its history, contacting Nick’s nephews as well a the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area to gather information.
As evidenced by her writing, she is a tireless and exacting researcher, digging deep into her subject matter, and then exhaustively
writing about it… The result is a stellar account of Nick’s life and the battles in which he fought both on and
off the fields of sports and war. It was, as she commented to me during an online chat, “a labor of love”. As
I suspect most, if not all of what Dorothy does, is…
of caution, though… Dorothy’s works, so far, center on military service… tactics and battle plans…
military campaigns and, in Nick’s case, also sports. Heavily theme-based, her historical accounts are comprehensive
and thorough. A good portion of Phoenixville’s Own Nick Basca describes the war effort of the 4th
Armored Division in and around France because, as she stated, they were such an important and decorated unit during WWII.
And because Nick was one of the artillerymen. While I found the stratagems of George Patton most interesting, I was more interested
in reading about Nick and his own exploits…
Whether you are an
armchair military strategist and/or a Monday morning quarterback, I most heartily recommend this stunning book. It is a insightful
glimpse into the life and times of a kind, talented courageously heroic young man who once flew with the Eagles and then dedicated
his life in service to his country.
Enjoy the read!