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'Frenchie' pleased to honor heroic grandfather

Elder Coulombe's WWII tales being made into movie
MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- The inaugural Players Weekend, which kicked off Friday, has brought about an opportunity for players to express their personal style on the field while also donning a fun nickname on the back of their unique jerseys.

For A's reliever Daniel Coulombe, it presented a chance to honor his late grandfather, Bertrand "Frenchie" Coulombe.

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OAKLAND -- The inaugural Players Weekend, which kicked off Friday, has brought about an opportunity for players to express their personal style on the field while also donning a fun nickname on the back of their unique jerseys.

For A's reliever Daniel Coulombe, it presented a chance to honor his late grandfather, Bertrand "Frenchie" Coulombe.

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Coulombe is proudly sporting "Frenchie" on the back of his jersey this weekend, as a nod to the man whose World War II tales are being made into a movie.

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The pitcher's grandfather was a staff sergeant and flight engineer on a B-17 that was badly damaged by enemy gunfire during a raid over Berlin. Struggling to return to an airbase in England, Coulombe Sr. and his pilot -- the only two survivors -- were helped along by a German pilot trailing the bomber aircraft. He allowed the Americans to safely escape and, 40 years later, the opposing pilots met.

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The U.S. Air Force later classified these happenings as top secret, and young Coulombe only learned of his grandfather's story after his passing.

"He never told us," Coulombe said. "That was the crazy thing about it."

The story was documented in a New York Times best-selling book, "A Higher Call," by Adam Makos, and will soon be seen on screen in theaters.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Daniel Coulombe