Military veterans of Major League Baseball

Hank Gowdy

Veteran Boston Braves catcher Hank Gowdy became the first professional baseball player to enlist during World War I, joining the Ohio National Guard’s 166th Infantry Regiment and seeing plenty of action on the Western Front. Gowdy volunteers again when World War II breaks out, and the 53-year-old captain becomes the only baseball player to have served during both world wars.

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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