Professional Baseball Players Who Served in U.S. Armed ForcesIt’s important to take a moment and reflect on the freedoms that the people in the United States get to enjoy every day. What’s more important is to understand why and how we have these freedoms. It is thanks to the many brave men and women who have fought for our country. Some of these individuals make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom — and it’s something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

While many service members, past and present, are ordinary citizens, this list is comprised of great professional baseball players who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Some were drafted and some were enlisted on their own. However, they all did the one thing every service member does: make sacrifices for our beautiful nation.

So, here are five baseball players who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Yogi Berra

Professional Baseball Players Who Served in U.S. Armed Forces

Credit: Martyna Borkowski – jklamo

Yogi Berra is known for being one of the greatest catchers in MLB history. He won three American League MVP awards during his 19-year career. He also has the most World Series Championships for one player in MLB history. However, the most important victory Berra participated in was the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Berra served in the U.S. Navy as a gunner’s mate on board a landing craft on D-Day. He spent time in Northern Africa and Italy while enlisted in the Navy as well.

Ted Williams     

Military Makeover Spotlights: Professional Baseball Players Who Served in U.S. Armed Forces

By Unknown author – Credit: Baseball Digest, back cover, May 1949 issue. [1], Public Domain,    

Ted Williams can be argued as the greatest hitter of all time. Williams played his entire 19-year career with the Boston Red Sox with a lifetime batting average of .344. The Splendid Splinter won two American League MVP awards and won the American League Triple Crown twice in 1942 and 1947. Williams was drafted in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served as an instructor with the United States Marine Corps after earning his pilot wings. Williams was discharged from duty in 1946 and returned to the Boston Red Sox to continue his Hall of Fame career until he was recalled into active duty again in 1952 for the Korean War.

Williams flew 39 combat missions before being relived for an ear infection. After his service, he once again returned to the Red Sox. Williams missed about 5 years of his outstanding baseball career due to serving. Many fans question how many more records he could have broken if he was never drafted. Nonetheless, Williams was a patriot and loved serving.

Jackie Robinson

By: This file was contributed to Wikimedia Commons by Columbus Metropolitan Library as part of a cooperation project. The donation was facilitated by the Digital Public Library of America, via its partner Ohio Digital Network.

Jackie Robinson is most known for breaking the race barrier in baseball, but did you know that he also served in the United States Army? Robinson entered the Army in 1942 as an officer. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1943. It was later deemed that Robinson could not engage in combat overseas due to a previously broken ankle. He was discharged in November 1945 and then began his influential baseball career.

What goes unnoticed is how great Robinson was in his era of baseball. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1947 and National League MVP award two years later, in 1949. With a career batting average of .311 in only 10 seasons, Robinson was a game-changer.

Joe DiMaggio

Credit By: Producer: Warner Pathe News – Prelinger Archives

Joe DiMaggio played 13 seasons for the New York Yankees with a career batting average of .325. He won three American League MVP awards and holds the record for most consecutive games with a hit at 56 games set in 1941 – a feat that still hasn’t been broken today! But from 1943 to 1945, the Yankee Clipper served in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in Santa Ana Army Air Base and later in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1945, DiMaggio was discharged from the service and resumed his Hall of Fame baseball career.

Do you have a favorite professional baseball player who served in the U.S. Armed Forces?