It’s Veteran’s Day.
A day we take time to pay homage to brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our dear country. During World War II, MLB baseball players were quite visible in the military scene. Countless men lost years on their baseball resumes in order to fight “over there”.
Two of the most highly decorated of these veterans were Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio and Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams. Both are obvious legends of the game with their respective claims to history, such as DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and William being the last man to bat over .406 to name a few.
But, because of “Da War” both men were denied entry into the ultra exclusive club that only has 28 members-The 3,000 hit club.
In DiMaggio’s case, he gave three prime years to our country and ended with 2,214 hits when he retired. Every season before he enlisted, he had hit at the very least 186 hits in a year. Those three years would have brought him oh so close to the milestone. And if it was that close, I’m sure DiMaggio would have toughed it out a little longer, instead of retiring at age 36.
As for Williams, he also gave three crucial years to Uncle Sam before finishing baseball with 2,654 hits. In the four years before his service he never hit less than 185 hits and the four years after service he never hit less than 176 hits. Oh, and portions 1952 and 1953, he was serving as Marine aviator in the Korean War. So, I think you can do the math.
Nowadays, our country does a better job on hunkering down the grandiose visions of evil megalomaniacs. In fact, we actively involve ourselves in every little dispute (where we many times don’t belong), thus gaining the title “The World’s Babysitter”. But since World War II, 20 players have had the velvet rope lifted for the 3,000 hit club, so we got that going for us.
Fighting evil to pave the way for baseball achievements. Thank you members of the armed services.