Was Ted Williams the most outstanding ‘soldier’ of all the pro sport figures of the 20th and 21st century? Blier? what think you?
I meant Bleier; Rocky Bleier.
Bob Feller signed up after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was the first pro athlete to do so. He served from 1941-1945.
“When the war ended, Feller was discharged as a Chief Petty Officer on August 22, 1945. Feller was decorated with six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars while serving on missions in both the Pacific and North Atlantic, and he was made an honorary member of the Green Berets later in life.”
Pretty hardcore, that Feller.
I would probably put Pat Tillman up there.
He may be about the only one I know who was a pro athlete but Tillman was in the Rangers which is a pretty elite group.
Roger Staubach volunteered for a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Not sure what you mean. Best athlete that signed up or athelete that had the most distinguished military career?
Louie Zamperini needs a bigger place in history, but you need to count Olympians as well as pros.
I want to focus on well known athletes who served in dangerous conditions and who distinguished themselves.
Williams was a flight instructor in WWII, but, when duty called, came back to fly missions in Korea.
Feller was a wonderful example. You might want to check out Buffalo born Warren Spahn, too.
Bleier was wounded in a Vietnam battle and it took at least two years to get back to athletic shape and weight.
Tillman deserves a special place, having volunteered, then being killed by ‘friendly fire’ WTF! Bad, bad Karma, I guess.
Seems like a lot of athletes served in special units…I wonder how they really felt about their ‘service’? Hollywood actors, too. I suppose every country does the same.
Lou Brissie wasn’t a top performer pitching in the majors after the war, but that may have had something to do with getting his leg blown apart in Italy, almost losing it.
Yogi Berra was on a rocket-firing boat at Omaha Beach, but survived uninjured.
How about Moe Berg? He was a baseball player who was a spy for the OSS and later the CIA.
Dick Francis champion steeplechase jockey and author was in the RAF.
If we’re talking about their athletic careers, Joe Louis.
If we include the effects and significance of their being drafted, Muhammad Ali.
Tossing this to the Game Room, from IMHO.
He was an Annapolis grad. He did a Vietnam tour before he started playing pro ball. Not to take away anything from his service.
Cecil Travis spent most of his Army career playing baseball, his teams appearing in the national semi-pro tournament in Wichita for two years in a row. He finally saw action as a technical sergeant during the Battle of the Bulge where he earned a Bronze Star and three battle stars; he also lost a few toes to frostbite.
There have been claims that the amputation threw off his swing and he couldn’t recover but Travis always maintained that, whatever prevented him from making a post-war comeback, it wasn’t the injury.
The recently deceased Jerry Coleman was a highly decorated marine aviator in two wars. Played for the Yankees and was a hall of fame broadcaster.
Another Yankee Hank Bauer was twice wounded and decorated for valor as a Marine.
Warren Saphn was in the Battle of the Bulge.
The Orioles Al Bumbry was a viet nam infantry platoon leader.
Tom Landry flew B-17s.
George Patton was on the US Olympic team in 1912 and competed in the modern pentathlon.
So you are saying he served in the military by not serving in the military?
At that time, he would have been an amateur. The OP is about professional athletes.