Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baseball Goes to War

I was poking around the web trying to figure out what to write for Memorial Day Weekend. Some of the iconic stories of ballplayers going to war came to mind. You know them: Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio. They all are familiar.

Harry O'Neill was killed in WWII.
Then there are players whose stories of military service are not talked about much anymore. For instance, Carlos May, a '70s slugger for the Chicago White Sox, lost part of his thumb in a training accident. He managed to have a solid career despite the injury.

Instead of offering my opinion on these players (after all, what is there to say beside "thank you?") today I offer links to the best websites on the topic. All of them are interesting and many are inspiring.

In no particular order:

1st Inning: Largely far from our memories, much like the war itself, are the players who served during the Vietnam War.

2nd Inning: Three icons risk danger in World War I.

3rd Inning: They gave the ultimate sacrifice -- and that's what we are supposed to remember on memorial Day -- in World War II: Elmer Gedeon and Harry O'Neill.

Elmer Gedeon was the other major Leaguer killed in WWII.
4th Inning: Depleted leagues play on.

5th Inning: The catcher was a spy.

6th Inning: Players on the front lines.

7th Inning: A friend recalls the "Splendid Splinter" 

8th Inning: Everything you wanted to know about baseball and war.

9th Inning: The Blue, the Gray and the ball field.

Extras: This tidbit from the 4th inning link above: When Leo Durocher was rejected by the Army because of a bad eardrum, the Sporting News wrote this brilliant headline: "Lippy, the Umpirical Earache, Just Bum Drum to Uncle Sam."

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