Military veterans of Major League Baseball

Pete Rose, Johnny Bench

After the 1963 season, a young private named Pete Rose (front row, second from left) was mopping the mess hall at Fort Knox when he got the call that he had earned the National League Rookie of the Year. “Charlie Hustle” served his six-year Reserve commitment at Fort Thomas, Ky,, which meant he could be a soldier during the day and still make the Reds game during summer drills.

Several Cincinnati Reds served in the 478th Engineer Battalion, including fellow Hall of Fame player/soldier Johnny Bench (front row, third from left), whom many consider to be the best catcher of all time.

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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