Memorial Day Tribute: Sports Heroes That Were Real Heroes

WASHINGTON, DC – Today is a great day to BBQ, watch a ballgame and drink your favorite adult beverages. But we can only do that because Real Heroes pay the price for us sissies to do just that. There are too many to salute, so we’ve picked some that can represent the whole. Here they are, Sports Heroes That Were Real Heroes:

Pat Tillman: Eight months after 9/11, Tillman chose to forgo his $3.6 million NFL contract to fight in as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is simply inconceivable in our society. In April 2004, he was killed by friendly fire and awarded a Purple Heart, Silver Star and a posthumous promotion.

Ted Williams: Served five years as a Marine pilot, enlisting in 1942, just after winning the first Triple Crown. Teddy Ballgame was a flight instructor in World War II and returned to active duty at age 34 to fly 39 combat missions in the Korean War.

Jack Dempsey: Held the heavyweight boxing title from 1919 to 1926 but was hounded by accusations that he dodged the WWI draft. Answered the bell by enlisting in Coast Guard Reserve in 1942 and was in on Okinawa invasion. Honorably discharged in 1952 – ten years later!

Warren Spahn: also served as an Army combat engineer in the Battle of the Bulge and at the Ludendorff Bridge, where he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In baseball he earned a Cy Young award, one World Series title and 14 All-Star appearances.

Bob Feller: After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Feller became the first professional baseball player to volunteer for World War II. He served 4 years on the USS Alabama as an anti-aircraft gun captain and earned eight battle stars. He returned to baseball and finished with three no-hitters, 266 career wins and one World Series championship.

Yogi Berra: A 10-time World Series Champion, 15-time All-Star and three-time American League MVP.
Prior to Yankees debut, Yogi was a gunner’s mate in the Navy for the D-Day invasion on Normandy Beach.

Jackie Robinson: This guy was tough. He served in a segregated Army unit after being drafted in 1942 and became a second lieutenant before being court-martialed in 1944 for refusing to move to the back of an Army bus. He was later found innocent and honorably discharged. Won a an MVP and a World Series championship – finally getting one from Yogi.

Despite dog-tags, Willie could hit.

Willie Mays: 12 Gold Gloves, two MVPs and a staggering 20 All-Star games. Missed more than 250 games after winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1951 – fighting in Korea for the Army. Mays returned to the San Francisco Giants in 1954 and hit 41 home runs with a .345 batting.

Tom Landry: As as a WWII co-pilot in a B-17 bomber the sharpest looking coach ever flew in 30 combat missions and survived a crash landing.

Jackie Robinson: This guy was tough. He served in a segregated Army unit after being drafted in 1942 and became a second lieutenant before being court-martialed in 1944 for refusing to move to the back of an Army bus. He was later found innocent and honorably discharged. Won a an MVP and a World Series championship – finally getting one from Yogi.

Ty Cobb: The Georgia Peach set 90 MLB records, winning 12 batting titles despite time away after enlisting in 1918 in World War I. As a member of the Army’s Chemical Corps, Cobb was honorably discharged following accidental exposure to mustard gas. Ironic, because he was a hot dog.

Ken Norton, Sr: U.S. Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967… 33 knockouts in 50 career fights biggest win of his career was a victory over Muhammad Ali in 1973

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