American Veterans Who Served and Played Professional Sports


If this author were a betting man, the bet would be how many Hall of Fame professional sports stars served in the military?  To simplify that and avoid losing money, we are going to list some of the most recognizable athletes who are in the Hall of Fame for a professional sport and served in the American Armed Forces.  There is one Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee who also served in the American Civil War, Morgan Bulkeley, with the United States Army, and although we cannot cover all of those who served and played as our American Heroes, the list here is wonderful provided by the MLB Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately, the list does not include those who served in the Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recent American Wars, mostly because of timing, the lack of a draft, and eligibility (not being far enough from retirement, etc.).  There is also a lack of official data from the NFL, MLS, NHL, and NBA.

However, noting that all of our veterans are heroes and we celebrate them on this National Holiday of Veterans Day, he we go:

1. Jackie Robinson, World War II, United States Army, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Ted Williams, World War II and Korean War, United States Marines, Boston Red Sox

3. Joe DiMaggio, World War II, United States Army, New York Yankees

4. Yogi Berra, World War II, United States Navy, New York Yankees

5. Willie Mays, Korean War, United States Army, New York/San Francisco Giants

6. Stan Musial, World War II, United States Navy, St. Louis Cardinals

7. Roger Staubach, Vietnam War, United States Navy, Dallas Cowboys

8. Chad Hennings, Gulf War, United States Air Force, Dallas Cowboys

9. Rocky Bleier, Vietnam War, United States Army, Pittsburgh Steelers

10. Chuck Bednarik, World War II, United States Army Air Corps, Philadelphia Eagles

11. George McAfee, World War II, United States Navy, Chicago Bears

Honorable mention: Pat Tillman

There are many more not listed here, but that is not for lack of appreciation or effort.  Hopefully your exploration via the links and in your own research will find many more.  We salute our veterans and appreciate their sacrifice, service, and dedication.  True heroes indeed.  And may God continue to bless these United States of America.

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