Thousands of Major League Baseball players have answered the nation’s call, serving in two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and peacetime. The following is a brief list of players who served in the United States Armed Forces, and will be added to frequently.
Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto led a 20mm gun crew in the Pacific during World War II and played baseball for the Navy while he recovered from contracting malaria in New Guinea.
[Click the navigation menu below for more baseball players that served our country]
On this day 21 years ago, Chicago White Sox second baseman Ray Durham tied a Major League record by reaching base three times on errors. I don’t know how he got in the heads of the Cleveland Indians, but they committed two more errors while Durham was running the bases.
Durham lead off the game by reaching first on an error by future Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Thome. Another HOF’er, Frank Thomas hits a homerun, and Durham scores.
Leading off the top of the third Durham reaches again, this time on an error by pitcher Charles Nagy. He steals second base and advances to third on a throwing error by catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. A sacrifice fly by Thomas and Durham scores again.
In the fifth inning, Durham makes it to first on another error by Thome. He then scores again on a double to right by Albert Belle. The score is now Ray Durham 3, Cleveland 1.
Congratulations to former St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols for surpassing Babe Ruth on the (official) all-time runs batted in list.
Sure, Ruth’s numbers are lower due to the fact that Major League Baseball didn’t count RBIs until 1920, but even counting the Bambino’s actual numbers, Pujols could be just one swing away from passing both Lou Gehrig and Barry Bonds to become fourth on the all-time records.
All-Time RBI Leaders (as of April 21, 2019)
Equally impressive is the fact that he is one of only seven active players to have driven in over 1,000 runs, and other than Miguel Cabrera, no one else even comes close.
Pujols (39 years old) 1,993 RBI
Miguel Cabrera (36) 1,640
Robinson Cano (36) 1,242
Edwin Encarnacion (36) 1,171
Ryan Braun (35) 1,068
Nelson Cruz (38) 1,023
Matt Kemp (34) 1,010
Theoretically, Miguel Cabrera could catch Pujols, but even that appears unlikely. Looking at their last three full seasons (119, 101, 64 RBI for Pujols and 108, 60, 22 for Cabrera), Pujols is clearly pulling away from Cabrera despite being three years older. From 2016-2018 Pujols drove in 284 runs in 1,651 at-bats while Cabrera knocked 190 RBI in just 1,198 at-bats. That works out to one run every 5.8 at-bats for Pujols and one every 6.3 for Cabrera. Plus, to drive in runs you need your team to get on base; you could make the case that Pujols put up his higher numbers despite the Angels being a weaker offensive team than the Tigers.
Governor, South Carolina senator, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Audubon conservationist to receive environmental awards
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Global Eco Adventures, Inc. (GEA) will host its 4th annual ECO BALL at Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Mon. evening, Apr. 22 – Earth Day 2019 – and will present awards to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Thomas Alexander, nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, and conservationist Sharon Richardson.
The event, a black-tie gala including the awards presentation, dinner, dancing, and a silent auction will be held at Riverbanks’ Ndoki Lodge, and will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m.
Among the awards to be presented, Gov. McMaster will receive the GEA Lifetime Achievement Award. S.C. Senator Thomas Alexander will receive GEA’s Legislator of the Year Award. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Kathleen Parker will receive GEA’s Environmental Educator of the Year. And Audubon South Carolina’s Executive Director Sharon Richardson will receive GEA’s Conservation Champion Award.
[Featured image: “Chips,” a military police sentry dog with the 3rd Infantry Division, earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart during World War II. (U.S. Army photo)]
1865: Desperate for manpower on the front lines, the Confederate government approves enlisting and arming slaves. Although Gen. Robert E. Lee requested that slaves who fought should be granted freedom, the bill did not allow such a provision. A few thousand slaves would go on to fight for the Confederacy; over 200,000 blacks fought for the Union.
1942: The U.S. Army establishes the “K-9 Corps” – training dogs to serve in sentry, scout, messenger, and mine detection duties during World War II. The Quartermaster Corps puts the dogs through an 8-12 week basic training at camps across the United States, weeding out the animals who can’t handle the sound of gunfire or handle the military lifestyle. Starting with 32 acceptable breeds, the Army eventually cuts down the list to seven: German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Siberian huskies, farm collies, Eskimo dogs, and Malamutes.
Some even serve on the front lines. The Japanese are said to have never attacked a patrol accompanied by a war dog. A German Shepherd named “Chips” serving with a military police company on Sicily attacked a German pillbox, forcing the occupants to surrender. Wounded in his attack, Chips was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
Today’s post is in honor of Cpl. Nathan B. Carse, who was killed by an improvised explosive device on this day in 2011 in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. The 32-year-old native of Harrod, Ohio was the son of a Green Beret and was assigned to 2d Engineer Battalion, 176th Engineer Brigade.
1862: A day after 10,000 soldiers under the command of Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, supported by a flotilla of Union gunships, land at Roanoke Island (N.C.), the Confederates surrender the island’s four forts and two batteries. Federal forces now control a strategically significant section of the Atlantic coast, and coupled with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory at Fort Henry in Tennessee two days ago, Northerners finally have something to cheer about.
1910: William D. Boyce incorporates the Boy Scouts of America. Countless boys will cut their teeth as young adventurers in Boyce’s scouting program before joining the military. When sub commander Eugene Fluckey – one of nine Medal of Honor recipients to earn the Boy Scouts’ top distinction of Eagle Scout — assembled a landing party to go ashore and destroy a Japanese train, he wanted former Boy Scouts to do the job, since they would most likely have the skills to find their way there and back.
11 of the 12 humans to set foot on the moon were Boy Scout alumni; and Neil Armstrong — the first — was an Eagle Scout.
Today’s post is in honor of Spc. Allen D. Kokesh Jr. who was died on this day in 2006 from wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device attack on his vehicle in Baghdad. The 21-year-old from Yankton, S.D. was assigned to the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery.
1943: The submarine USS Growler (SS-215) spots the supply ship Hayasaki and begins a nighttime battle. The Japanese ship turns to ram the sub and rakes Growler‘s bridge with machine gun fire, wounding the skipper, Commander Howard W. Gilmore.
Unable to get off the bridge, Gilmore orders the crew to “Take her down!” — sacrificing his life to save his men. For his actions, Gilmore is awarded the Medal of Honor – the first of seven sub commanders to earn the nation’s top award for valor during World War II.
Meanwhile, the Imperial Japanese Navy completes Operation “Xe” – the evacuation of nearly 1,800 remaining troops from Guadalcanal. After six months of brutal fighting, nearly 15,000 Americans killed or wounded, and over 600 aircraft and dozens of ships lost, the island is now completely in American hands.
1965: Sappers cut their way through the defensive wires surrounding Camp Holloway in Pleiku, opening the way for 300 Viet Cong guerrillas to attack the helicopter base near Pleiku. Simultaneously, the VC attacks other nearby targets, killing eight Americans and wounding over 100, while destroying and damaging dozens of helicopters and planes. Pres. Lyndon Johnson orders a retaliatory strike, and 49 aircraft from the carriers USS Coral Sea (CV-43) and USS Hancock (CV-19) hit military targets along the de-militarized zone and in North Vietnam.
During the Cold War, U.S. aircraft designers produced some absolutely incredible warplanes. Looking back from an era of stealth technology and fifth-generation jets, some of these aircraft may seem primitive and a few are remembered for their flaws, but make no mistake: these machines were truly cutting edge in their day. Not only our freedom and security, but that of the rest of the world, depended on holding the edge over the communists. Because had it not been for a constant output of highly advanced and steadily improving fighters, attack planes, and interceptors, we might not have deterred a possible third world war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Below are just some of these amazing platforms that kept the Cold War cold.
By the time the United States Air Force became a standalone service in 1947, the dawning of the jet age was rapidly making our stockpiles of piston-engine aircraft left over from World War II obsolete. Republic Aviation produced over 15,000 P-47s from 1941-1945, and made constant improvements to the aircraft. By the time the United States invaded Normandy, the rugged fighter-bomber could either escort heavy bombers into Europe or devastate Axis ground targets with its eight M2 .50-cal. machineguns and 2,500 pounds of bombs. It was re-designated the F-47 in 1948 and would be retired from active duty Air Force service in 1949.