THE OTHER SIDE OF SPORTS (TOO) 11-8-10

By on November 10, 2010

Well fans a few issues back I mentioned an upcoming article about those still in pro baseball who actually served on active duty in the military not just the Reserves-National Guard.  In other words must be more than basic training, weekend duty or two weeks summer camp.

     If you are a regular reader then you would remember the list would include players, coaches, front office personnel, broadcasters and sports writers.  So here we go with the list and feel free to add as these are the only ones I can prove. 

     Jim Fanning, former manager and GM of the Montreal Expos who is now a special assistant to the Toronto Blue Jays GM.  Jim served in Germany after the war ended in 1945 and 46.

     Lee Elia a former player along with managing the Cubs and Phillies, now is a scout with the Dodgers.  Lee was an Army teletype operator but never left the states.

     Luis Ortiz a former Yankee farmhand and now is the manager of the Braves GCL team.  After a short four year career with the Yankees, Luis enlisted in the Army and spent 21 1/2 years rising to the rank of SFC E-7 before retiring and returning to pro ball.

     Hall of Fame Broadcaster and former Yankee second baseman Jerry Coleman is next.  A WWII Navy vet if I remember correctly, Jerry is still brightening the airways for the Padres.

     Richie Garcia, the former major league umpire, now minor league umpire instructor was in the Marines stationed in Okinawa for a couple of years.  Richie was in between 1960-64 before beginning his umpiring career.

     Darold Knowles, a reliever with eight teams over 15-big league seasons spent time in Japan in the late 60’s with a side trip to Korea.  Knowles’ Air National Guard unit was called up and he missed part of the 1969 season when he was with the Washington Senators.  Another item is that while with the 73 A’s Knowles set the World Series record by pitching in all seven games of the series including getting the final out in game seven against the Mets.

     Tom Saffell, the former GCL President, now league special advisor.  Tom played for the Pirates but spent most of his time playing in the PCL.  This gentleman was a P-47 pilot during WWII flying 61 combat missions.

     Coming up on 21-years as FSL President is Chuck Murphy a career Army Ranger who rose to the rank of Lt. Col.  Chuck was a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam.

     Then there is yours truly who spent eight months in Korea and 19-plus months in Vietnam from 1967-69.  As a freelance writer, broadcaster and photographer I finally got to live my dream job starting in 1990.  Getting paid to go to a ball game because I was never a gifted athlete.

     Well those are just a few out there in the game of baseball and if you know any more please feel free to add to the list.

     So until then…

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