Monday, November 26, 2007

A Belated Look at True Veterans

There's been a lot of talk about the role of veterans the in Dodgers' clubhouse, but it turns out we've overlooked veterans of an altogether different stripe. At Dodger Thoughts, "bobmac" posted the following:

The three Dodger blogs I read everyday, Dodger Thoughts for insight, Son's of Steve Garvey for humorous insight and True Blue LA for statistic insight all had one thing in common this Thanksgiving. All three posted Thanksgiving Day thoughts. On the other hand, on November 11 not one of the three gave thanks to our veterans on Veterans Day. Shame on you. It is not too late to do an article on Dodger Veterans, is it? Even Tommy Lasorda spend a couple years for his country. While not a Dodger player, as a Dodger Fan, I spent 20 years.

Bobmac, you're right. Thank you for (1) your service and (2) the suggestion.

From "Museum reunites veterans of war, baseball" (AP/

Lou Brissie and Morrie Martin shared much more than a uniform when their baseball careers briefly intersected in 1951 as teammates with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Before they were major leaguers, Brissie and Martin fought for their country during World War II. Both were wounded and nearly lost legs. Both beat long odds to play baseball again.

Brissie and Martin have kept in touch over the years, but they never traded war stories before they reunited this month at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans for the opening of a new exhibition, "When Baseball Went to War."

"You don't talk about the war in baseball," the 85-year-old Martin later explained during a telephone interview from his home in Washington, Mo....

Martin, who was 20 when he joined the Army in December 1942, had signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers before the war took him overseas, first to North Africa and later to Europe. Returning home in August 1945, he recovered from his wounds quickly enough to join the Dodgers for spring training in 1946.

It wasn't until 1949, however, that Martin made his major league debut with the Dodgers. His wounds had left the pitcher's left leg shorter than his right, altering his delivery. Plus, "Getting in shape took a little longer," he said.

Throughout his military service, Martin, a member of the 49th Combat Engineers, said he never picked up a baseball. The war took a toll on his career, but he doesn't have any regrets.

"None whatsoever," he said.

Visit The National World War II Museum site for "Duty, Honor, Country: When Baseball Went to War."


bobmac said...

Thank you Orel.