Military veterans of Major League Baseball

Thousands of Major League Baseball players have answered the nation’s call, serving in two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and peacetime. The following post is just one of what will become several slideshows of players who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Gil Hodges

On 3 October 1943, a rookie Brooklyn Dodger named Gil Hodges hops off the bench for his first-ever professional baseball game (Hodges played college ball for St. Joseph’s College then went straight into the Minor Leagues). Cincinnati ace Johnny Vander Meer — who would serve in the Navy during World War II — strikes Hodges out twice, but Hodges draws a walk in his third and final plate appearance of the season. After this game he joins the Marine Corps, playing baseball for the 16th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion while on Hawaii, but soon ships out for combat on Tinian and is among the first troops ashore on Okinawa, where the future eight-time All Star earns a Bronze Star for valor.

[Click the navigation menu below for more baseball players that served our country]

Author: Chris Carter

7 thoughts on “Military veterans of Major League Baseball

  1. There have been thousands of baseball players that served. This post is updated as I have time. I didn’t know Pete Rose was a soldier though, thanks!

  2. You forgot: Dusty Baker, Tug McGraw, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Bobby Tolan, Rod Carew, Darrell Evans, Joe nDiMaggio, Mickey Lolich, and many others

  3. Thanks BIll. I found a picture of Sgt. Greenberg standing next to fellow MLB vet Hank Gowdy, who served in both World Wars. Both men have been added to the post.

  4. And Certainly don’t forget about Hank Greenberg – Detroit Tiger slugger/ Hall of Famer – I believe he was the highest paid player in baseball at the time he enlisted when they introduced the Draft…Before Pearl Harbor – he then stayed the balance of the war in the Pacific/Burmese theater – prime playing years that he missed❗❗

  5. I haven’t forgotten about the Splendid Splinter; there are so many vets that played professional football and baseball to cover.

    In fact, I am working on a piece about Hall of Fame members that were military veterans. Thank you for the reminder though!

  6. I think you forgot about Ted Williams, who flew fighters with the USMC in both WWII and Korea. He lost five years playing baseball to serve his country in combat.

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