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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Williams knew his first duty was to fight for his country

Not trying to pick on anyone, but can you imagine any superstar athlete, any sport, signing up for the Armed Services? This is not to question anyone’s patriotism. I am certainly in no position to do that. In today’s world, I just can’t see million dollar athletes enlisting. I also can’t see any owners allowing their “investment” to enlist either.

GBA

The Original Gary Posted: September 19, 2001 at 06:26 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Original Gary Posted: September 19, 2001 at 08:29 PM (#72719)
Williams wasn't drafted. He may have been eventually but he enlisted. From the article:

"I decided, deferment or not, right or not -- and I was right -- I had to sign up." Unless Williams is lying about it or I am reading it wrong.
   2. Big Ed Posted: September 19, 2001 at 10:35 PM (#72721)
My father has told me that in World War Two, if you were 1-A, you were drafted. The article is kind of vague. At any rate, Sam's point about Williams doing this because of bad press seems to have some validity.
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 20, 2001 at 02:01 AM (#72722)
Williams was either drafted for WWII, or enlisted in order to get his choice of service (a common option, since he was going to be drafted anyway), along with hundreds of other players. But he was then drafted for Korea, where he pissed and moaned about having to fight again (mainly blaming Truman), but of course when he finally went he performed with great distinction and heroism, as everybody knew he was going to all along. Many players were drafted in Korea, but unlike in WWII, Williams was the only real star to see combat duty. Most of the rest of the draftees, like Mays and Whitey Ford, served their time playing baseball to entertain the troops. (Gerry Coleman also fought in both wars, and in recognition of this, MLB has permanently retired his number after its current holders have left the game.)

The real contrast, though, was with Vietnam, where even though there was a draft in place for most of the war, the only baseball regular I can think of who actually saw combat was Al Bumbry of the Orioles, who came back from the war to be AL ROY in 1973 and went on to a fine career. Of course, this was an era when in parks like Oakland or San Francisco, you could see large groups in the stands remain seated during the National Anthem.
   4. Big Ed Posted: September 20, 2001 at 01:13 PM (#72723)
I think Carlos May of the White Sox served. I seem to remember he blew off part of his thumb with a mortar.

Did you he is the only major leaguer to wear his birthday on his uniform? May 17.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 20, 2001 at 10:01 PM (#72725)
Big Ed...

Carlos May was called up from the reserves at age 19 while still in the minors, and suffered the injury while in training. He was back in baseball the next year and never served in Vietnam.

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