Memorial Day is a time for all of us to take a moment to remember the tremendous sacrifices that our military heroes have made throughout our history to provide us with the freedoms that we enjoy every day. The festivities of this day bring to mind one of my favorite movie quotes. In the movie Field of Dreams, Terrance Mann says the following: “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”
This quote speaks to the importance of our game to the fabric of our society. Furthermore, some of our game’s biggest heroes have given back to this country by serving in our armed forces. Below are some names that you are sure to recognize and what they did for our country:
Warren Spahn – He enlisted in the US Army in 1942, and he earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his Bravery in battle.
Ted Williams – He served the US Navy and the Marine Corps as a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War. Who knows what his career numbers would have looked like if he had played for those three years.
Bob Feller – He was the first Major Leaguer to enlist after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. This first-ballot Hall of Famer spent four years in the US Navy.
Yogi Berra – He enlisted in the US Navy in the middle of World War II. He was actually a part of D-Day landing at Normandy in 1944.
Stan Musial – The greatest Cardinal of all time took a break from the team in 1945 to join the US Navy during World War II.
Tris Speaker – He served as a naval aviator during World War I. He was renowned for his courage and willingness to seek out dangerous assignments.
Willie Mays – He spent two years in the US Army during the Korean War.
Jackie Robinson – He was drafted into the US Army in 1942 and served for two years. Five years later he would go on to break MLB’s color barrier.
Ty Cobb – He served in the US Army during World War I as part of the Chemical Warfare Service.
Joe Dimaggio – He served in the US Air Force during World War II.
There have been many more of baseball’s best who have served our great country, and we should remember their heroics that came on and off the field. Happy Memorial Day.