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  #1  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:11 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: peter chao

We know something about Ted Williams and his heroic service during two wars, how about the exploits of other war heroes that played MLB?

Peter C.

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  #2  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:23 PM
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Posted By: davidcycle

My claim to fame is I owned Ted William's WWII toiletries carrying case, complete with the toiletries. The funniest thing was it had a shoe horn. As I had never used a shoe horn, it took be a couple of months before I found out what it was.

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  #3  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:27 PM
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Posted By: Steve Dawson

Eddie Grant (T201, T202 and T205 among others) was one of the first men to enlist when the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, serving in the 77th Infantry Division. During the fierce battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, all of Grant's superior officers were killed or wounded, and he took command of his troops on a four-day search for the "Lost Battalion." During the search, an exploding shell killed Grant on October 5, 1918, making him the only major leaguer to be killed in World War I.


Steve

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  #4  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:31 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: PS

I believe Warren Spahn was decorated for his service in the Army.

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  #5  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:34 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

And of course, Christy Mathewson was gassed during WWI which led to his early death.

Peter C.

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  #6  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:45 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: Steve Dawson

Bob Feller enlisted in the Navy on Dec 8, 1941, becoming the first Major League Baseball player to do so following the Attack on Pearl Harbor the day before. Feller served aboard the USS Alabama, and missed four seasons during his service in World War II, being decorated with five campaign ribbons and eight battle stars (the USS Alabama itself, was awarded nine battle stars).


Steve

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  #7  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:51 PM
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Posted By: Ralph

Hank Gowdy was a war hero and a great leader & was the first Major league baseball player to enlist in the war.I could go on but I'll stop there as I want to see if others have posted anymore players.Good Topic Peter.

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  #8  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:54 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

Hank Bauer fought as a Marine in the Pacific and earned two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

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  #9  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:55 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: Joseph

I remember Carlos May of the White Sox losing part of a finger during the Vietnam War...can't remember if it was in combat or not, but I do recall that as one of the events
that raised my consciousness about the evils of War...

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  #10  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:57 PM
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Posted By: Al C.risafulli

Yogi Berra participated in the Normandy invasion with the US Navy.

-Al

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  #11  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:57 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: Justin

Warren Spahn fought at the Battle of the Bulge before he became a major league regular.

I think Yogi Berra fought too, before he made the majors.

And of course Cecil Travis had a hall of fame caliber start to this career, interrupted by the war. When he came back he was marginal at best. He said it was just him being older, but he suffered frostbite at the Battle of the Bulge and that may have contributed.

Hank Greenberg also lost a couple of years and he noted that he wasn't the same player when he came back.

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  #12  
Old 08-16-2007, 02:57 PM
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Posted By: Dan Bretta

Elmer Gedeon - Washington Senators...was killed in WW2 when his bomber was hit by flak and went down over France. Gedeon was the nephew of Joe Gedeon who is most notable as the "ninth man out" for his part in the Black Sox Scandal.

http://www.garybed.co.uk/in_memoriam_bios/gedeon_elmer.htm

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  #13  
Old 08-16-2007, 03:04 PM
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Posted By: Darren

Grover Cleveland Alexander -- missed the 1918 season while serving as an artillery officer in France during WWI.

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  #14  
Old 08-16-2007, 03:09 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

He didn't play MLB but Kevin Tillman (brother of Pat) gave up his baseball career after just one season in the minors to fight in Afghanistan.

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  #15  
Old 08-16-2007, 03:25 PM
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Posted By: Dan Bretta

You would be surprised at how many minor leaguers were killed in WW2 compared to only two major leaguers.

http://www.garybed.co.uk/in_memoriam.htm

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  #16  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:38 PM
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Posted By: jay wolt



Hank Greenberg enlisted prior to the Pearl Harbor attack.
Hank Bauer was a Marine and saw plenty of action.
Ralph Houk was a Major.

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  #17  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:52 PM
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Posted By: Chris Counts

He played football instead of baseball, but his war exploits are worth remembering. Jim Martin swam ashore the night before V-Day so he could collect intelligence for the impending invasion. His 1952 Bowman card mentions the feat. He appears on cards in the 1950 Bowman, 1952 Bowman and 1961 Topps sets. He played primarily with the Lions, appearing in several championship games and winning a couple titles ...

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  #18  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:15 PM
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Posted By: Chris Counts

Dan,

I found the link you posted fascinting. I scanned the list of players who died in WWII and found Hank Bauer's brother Herman; Federal League star Dutch Zwilling's son George; Billy Southworth, Jr., son of the manager of the '44 champion Cardinals; Pacific Coast League great Bill Raimondi's brother Ernie; Leo Walker, brother of Hub and Gee, and Joe Gideon's nephew, Elmer. Gideon was one of quite a handfgul of players who were banned from baseball by commissioner Keneshaw Mountain Landis in the 1920s. There are doubtless more Big League connections to be found on the list, but I only spent about 30 minutes going through it. The links on the list include great info on the players. Also, a minor leaguer named Elmer Wright was one of 19 young men from Bedford, Virginia who died in the first few minutes of D-Day ...

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  #19  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default Teddy Ballgame's War Exploits

Posted By: Dave Haas

Having recently seen "The Jackie Robinson Story" on TV where he played himself, I know that he was drafted during WWII which delayed his sports career but ended up with him being the first black player in the majors.

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  #20  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:41 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

Next time you hear a joke about a blind umpire consider this:

Hall of Fame umpire Nester Chylack was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge and was blind for two weeks before regaining his sight.

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  #21  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:43 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

Dave,

Jackie almost got himself court-martialed for refusing to sit at the back portion of an army bus. However, everything worked out and he was honorably discharged.

Peter C.

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  #22  
Old 08-16-2007, 06:23 PM
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Posted By: Justin

Cooper Brennan is a pitcher in the Padres system, who had a couple fingers blown off while serving in Afghanistan.

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  #23  
Old 08-16-2007, 07:46 PM
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Posted By: Ryan Christoff

Leon Day was part of an Army amphibian unit that landed on Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion.

Willard Brown was part of an Army unit that crossed the English Channel during the Normandy Invasion, although he did not see combat. He was in charge of guarding prisoners and hauling ammunition as a member of the Quartermaster Corps. He hit 2 HRs off Ewell Blackwell in the G.I. World Series to help Leon Day beat an Army team of Major Leaguers.

"Bullet Joe" Rogan was in the Army from 1911 to 1919 and played for the 25th Infantry team along with Dobie Moore and Heavy Johnson. All three were core members of the early Kansas City Monarchs championship teams.

Oscar Charleston was a member of the 24th infantry stationed in the Philippines prior to WWI. He is said to have been the only black player in the 1914 Manila League where he was a very popular pitcher. So in 1914, Babe Ruth and Oscar Charleston were both excellent pitchers. Within a few years they would gain fame as two of the greatest outfielders ever to play.

C.I. Taylor served in the Spanish-American War.

Ernie Banks is the only Negro Leaguer to have served in the Korean War.

Here are some other notable Negro Leaguers to serve in the military:

WWI:

Dizzy Dismukes
John Donaldson
Bunny Downs
Mac Eggleston
Jude Gans
Jess Hubbard
Dave Malarcher
Spot Poles
Dick Redding
Louis Santop
Clint Thomas
Frank Wickware
Jud Wilson

Bullet Rogan, Louis Santop and Jud Wilson are all HOFers. Mac Eggleston, Jess Hubbard, Heavy Johnson, Dobie Moore, and Clint Thomas all have baseball cards.
-------------------

WWII:

Dan Bankhead
Joe Black
Bob Boyd
Barney Brown
Willard Brown
Buster Clarkson
Eugene Collins
Leon Day
Larry Doby
Howard Easterling
Wilmer Fields
Jonas Gaines
Bill Greason
Bob Griffith
Monte Irvin
Max Manning
Buck O'Neil
Tom Parker
Jackie Robinson
Robert Romby
Dick Seay
Harry Simpson
Eugene Smith
John Ford Smith
Lonnie Summers
Hank Thompson
Bob Thurman
Roy Welmaker
Jesse Williams

Only included on the WWII list were players who can be found on baseball cards. Many others also served.

-Ryan

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  #24  
Old 08-16-2007, 09:25 PM
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Posted By: andy

I haven't read this thread completely so I could have missed this obvious name. check out this link ...

http://www.highironillustrations.com/rogues/jerry_coleman.html



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  #25  
Old 08-17-2007, 01:00 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

So Jerry was just as much a hero as Teddy Ballgame himself. I didn't know that, thanks for the link Andy.

Peter C.

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  #26  
Old 08-17-2007, 01:36 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

That's because Mr. Coleman is a true class act. Despite the forum he has (had?) as a prominent baseball announcer he has never been one to toot his own horn. I'm sure his feelings are the same as countless other war veterans who insist that the real heroes are the ones who never came home.

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  #27  
Old 08-17-2007, 01:47 PM
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Posted By: Anonymous

Do any of you know of any early ballplayers who fought in the Civil War? The must have been some as I've read that baseball was a very popular pastime for both the Yanks and the Rebs.

Also, does anyone know if Ralph Kiner saw combat during his military service?

Thanks

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  #28  
Old 08-17-2007, 01:52 PM
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Posted By: Joseph

Regarding the Civil War: there's General Abner Doubleday, the man who
invented...er, NEVERMIND

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  #29  
Old 08-17-2007, 06:47 PM
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Posted By: Clint

Photo taken at Guam. The back reads: "Played ball at Guam with the following big leaguers, Red Quillen, John Vander Meer, Del Ennis, Gal Becker, Virgil Trucks and Connie Ryan". Top row 2nd and 3rd are Becker and Ennis. Bottom row the first three are Vander Meer, Quillen and Ryan. I don't know if Trucks is in this photo.

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  #30  
Old 08-17-2007, 06:59 PM
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Posted By: Clint

Here's a photo of Hank Greenberg taken in Kansas. Sorry for the poor clarity but the photo is in a scrapbook and I dont want to remove the page.

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  #31  
Old 08-18-2007, 12:37 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

Clint,

Nice photograph of Hank. There were some people who thought Hank's career was too short to merit HOF status, but it seems like the Baseball Writers do take military service into consideration in the voting. That's the way it should be.

Peter C.

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  #32  
Old 08-18-2007, 01:43 PM
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Posted By: Ryan Christoff

Peter,

Would those people who are uncertain about Greenberg's HOF worthiness be the same ones who also wouldn't have elected Cobb in 1929?

-Ryan

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  #33  
Old 08-18-2007, 08:35 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

Ryan,

Thanks for your list of Negro Leaguers that served in the military.

The baseball writers do an okay job with voting for the superstars, but I'm glad the Veteran's Committee is being changed.

Peter C.

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  #34  
Old 08-19-2007, 02:21 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

How could we forget? Phil Rizzuto was a war vet, in his playing days he was always compared with Pee Wee Reese. Reese was considered a slightly better player so he went into the HOF first.

Peter C.

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  #35  
Old 08-19-2007, 02:36 PM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

My great uncle was exposed to nerve gas during WWI as Mathewson was. He lived to 100, but had occasional seizures throughout his life and received a disability pension because of it.

In trench warfare, the Germans discovered the problem with nerve gas was that, depending on whims of the wind, more of your troops could be hit by the gas than the enemy's. Hannibal similarly discovered that elephants weren't useful during battle, as an exciting elephant is more likely to stamp on your troops than the enemy's. Hannibal, of course, also discovered than African elephants weren't fond of snow.

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  #36  
Old 08-19-2007, 02:44 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

With Christy it was more complicated than that, he actually was exposed to nerve gas while trying to train other troopers. Then when he came back from the WWI he was never the same. It turned out that he had a family history of TB and the nerve gas made the TB worse. He died in his forties.

Peter C.

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  #37  
Old 08-19-2007, 02:55 PM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

More complicated than bringing elephants through the Alps?

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  #38  
Old 08-19-2007, 03:00 PM
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Posted By: peter chao

Not quite, LOL. More complicated than your great uncle's exposure to nerve gas.

Peter C.

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