15 Greatest Athletes Turned Military Men of All Time

The 15 Greatest Athletes Turned Military Men of All Time

The 15 Greatest Athletes Turned Military Men of All Time
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Throughout the history of sports, athletes have decided to turn in their jerseys for military-issued uniforms. It takes incredible strength and wisdom to be able to handle both duties, but one thing is for sure: their legacy is cemented not just in sports, but in the armed forces of the USA.

Take a look at 15 of the greatest athletes turned military men of all time.

15. Pat Tillman

15. Pat Tillman
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15. Pat Tillman

15. Pat Tillman
Todd Warshaw/Staff (Getty Images)

Pat Tillman left behind millions of dollars he could have made in the NFL to go serve in the Army. His number has since been retired by the Arizona Cardinals as he also was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart.

14. Ted Williams

14. Ted Williams
Getty Images/Staff (Getty Images)

14. Ted Williams

14. Ted Williams
Getty Images/Staff (Getty Images)

Ted Williams served not one, but two tours as a pilot for the Marines, sacrificing about five years of his professional career to follow his heart. Serving in World War II and having a legendary baseball career, Williams is not only in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but also had his number retired by the Boston Red Sox.

13. Jerry Coleman

13. Jerry Coleman
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13. Jerry Coleman

13. Jerry Coleman
Rich Pilling/Stringer (Getty Images)

Jerry Coleman flew in over 120 missions as a member of the U.S. Marines and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 13 Air Medals. A four-time World Series champion, Coleman also became a legendary announcer in baseball, earning him entries into both the Baseball Hall of Fame and Radio Hall of Fame.

12. Joe DiMaggio

12. Joe DiMaggio
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12. Joe DiMaggio

12. Joe DiMaggio
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A nine-time World Series champion, Joe DiMaggio proudly served his country as a member of the Army Air Forces. He was even promoted all the way to sergeant.

11. Jackie Robinson

11. Jackie Robinson
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11. Jackie Robinson

11. Jackie Robinson
Kevin Winter/Staff (Getty Images)

Jackie Robinson was an incredible professional baseball player who broke the color barrier in the sport, and he also was a second lieutenant in the army. Not only is Robinson in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but his uniform No. 42 is retired by every MLB team!

10. Roger Staubach

10. Roger Staubach
Getty Images/Staff (Getty Images)

10. Roger Staubach

10. Roger Staubach
Getty Images/Staff (Getty Images)

A member of the U.S. Naval Academy, Roger Staubach won two Super Bowls and also served his country proudly. Before he started his NFL career, he went to defend our country in Vietnam.

9. David Robinson

9. David Robinson
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9. David Robinson

9. David Robinson
Jim Rogash/Stringer (Getty Images)

Another member of the U.S. Naval Academy, David Robinson was drafted right into the San Antonio Spurs, but served two years before he stepped foot on the basketball court. Robinson spent 14 years in the NBA, earning two championships and numerous awards.

8. Bill Bradley

8. Bill Bradley
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8. Bill Bradley

8. Bill Bradley
Dick Raphael/Contributor (Getty Images)

Bill Bradley helped the New York Knicks earn two NBA championships but before that, he served our country as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Not only is he a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he is also an Olympic Gold medalist.

7. Tom Seaver

7. Tom Seaver
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7. Tom Seaver

7. Tom Seaver
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Tom Seaver is a legend not only in professional baseball, but he joined the Marines before hitting the pros and ended up having a Hall of Fame career.

6. John Wooden

6. John Wooden
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6. John Wooden

6. John Wooden
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Serving in World War II as a lieutenant of the U.S. Navy, John Wooden went on to have a historic career on the college basketball scene. Always known for coming up with amazing plays to score, Wooden left the game he loves just to serve his country.

5. Enos Slaughter

5. Enos Slaughter
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5. Enos Slaughter

5. Enos Slaughter
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Known as a powerful hitter with the St. Louis Cardinals, Enos Slaughter left baseball to serve in the Army Air Corp for three years. A four-time World Series champion who enjoyed 19 years in the majors, Slaughter rightfully ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

4. Tom Landry

4. Tom Landry
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4. Tom Landry

4. Tom Landry
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Legendary head coach Tom Landry had incredible success with the Dallas Cowboys. A member of the Army Air Forces during World War II, Landry handled several combat missions to protect our country.

3. Bill Sharman

3. Bill Sharman
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3. Bill Sharman

3. Bill Sharman
Andrew D. Berstein/Contributor (Getty Images)

An eight-time NBA All-Star, Bill Sharman served as a member of the U.S. Navy. He's one of a small group of people who are in the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach!

2. Willie Mays

2. Willie Mays
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2. Willie Mays

2. Willie Mays
Doug Pensinger/Staff (Getty Images)

Immediately following his rookie season in professional baseball, Willie Mays was drafted by the Army to serve in the Korean War. A baseball legend, Mays was a hitting machine and nothing got past him defensively! That's why he made the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

1. Roberto Clemente

1. Roberto Clemente
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1. Roberto Clemente

1. Roberto Clemente
Louis Requena/Stringer (Getty Images)

While everyone else enjoyed their baseball offseason, Roberto Clemente was a member of the Marines, going to do whatever it took to defend America. He's a two-time World Series champion in addition to earning 12 Gold Glove awards throughout his career. Even after he served his country, he remained a part of the Army Reserves.


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