Sports Reference Blog

Military Service now listed on B-R Player Pages

Posted by sean on March 8, 2012

The data isn't 100% complete, but thanks to our relationship with the Society for American Baseball Research, we've added a substantial amount of information about players who were out of organized baseball for a year or more. This will show up on the major league batting and pitching tables for the affected players. Around 1100 player pages are affected by this change. Please let us know about any errors or omissions you find and we'll fill in as many of the missing details as we can.

14 Responses to “Military Service now listed on B-R Player Pages”

  1. Zach Says:

    The first one I thought of was Phil Rizzuto, and I was surprised that his time in the Navy wasn't accounted for.

  2. Zach Says:

    Also, Ted Williams' page now notes his service in 43-45, but not for the time he missed in 52-53. I'm not sure what the best way to mention the 52-53 service would be, but I find it misleading to mention one in his stat lines and not the other.

  3. MG Says:

    Anyone know who last baseball player to serve in the military? I know Al Bumbry and Gary Maddox served in Vietnam. Beyond that I don't who else served since that time.

  4. ernest reyes Says:

    It would be great if you could include military service information for Roy Gleason. He's the only Vietnam Vet to play MLB Baseball.

  5. Brian Ake Says:

    @2 Ted Williams left a few games into the 1952 season, got shot down in Korea in February 1953, came back to the U.S and returned to the Sox in the last month of 1953. Thats why he has stats for 1952 and 53. He didnt miss time like 42-45

  6. 87Cards Says:

    @MG #3.......
    I see the question in two parts: Combat vets and non-combat vets.

    I recall hearing that George Zeber (NYY 77-78) did some helicopter assault work in Viet Nam prior his work for the 1977 & 78 World Champions.

    I am going say that Champ Summers, a former paratrooper with Viet Nam War service, was last military combat vet to appear in MLB. His last bat was for the Padres in 1984 World Series.

    Nolan Ryan did Army Reserve duty in 1967. He retired from MLB in 1993. Does anyone know of a more recent military vet in MLB?

  7. Andy Says:

    Although I love the concept of this addition, I actually think it's a downgrade in its current form, for the reason noted in #2 above. Those curious about Ted Williams' military service will be seriously mislead by the results on his page, and this is true for a lot of other players as well. I think the information presented now is actually misinformation because it's incomplete, even with the explanation that the service has to be for a year or more to register.

  8. Zach Says:

    Yeah, Andy in 7 says what I was saying in a clearer fashion. In its current form, Ted Williams' page (and Rizzuto's, and anyone else who missed time due to service but the information isn't here) is very misleading, which shouldn't happen on a reference site like this.

  9. Richard Lavin Says:

    Rizzuto was in the military when he was in the minors. When he got out he made the Yankees.

  10. Justin Rusnak Says:

    Justin Spier is in the Marine Corps reserve.

  11. Timmy Pea Says:

    I know it would be a chore, but why not put down the service branch. Ted Williams was in the Navy. Also, and this would be a huge chore, but why not put military service in the players bio at the top of his page. The same way you mention the high school or college. Thanks!

  12. Ira Jacobson Says:

    Phil Rizzuto made the Yankees as a regular player in 1941, and also had a full season in 1942.
    In assessing a player's career, his having served in the military should be a consideration. At the very least we should project his stats for the missing years when measuring him for the Hall, or for comparisons, etc.

  13. Tmckelv Says:

    I agree with Timmy Pea @11. If I had my choice, I would rather see the Military Service (years/branch) displayed up with the High School/College info for ALL players. Not just for guys that missed full seasons during their major league time period.

    Related, it would be good to have lines in the stats (similar to what was added for military service) to state that the player missed the entire season, for whatever the reason - injury, minors, military service, etc. Then those lines could be hidden (like we can do with the partial seasons now). This still has the same problem as before if a player has 5 AB's and gets hurt - we still don't know why he had such a short season. So it would cause additional info to be required (like a new column of reasons for missed time - after the position and awards columns).

    I am sure the data just is not there and even if it were, it would not be worth the time it would take to implement, but that would be the best case scenario.

  14. Chuck Hildebrandt Says:

    Are there any current players who have ever done active duty in the military? If not, who is the most recent player to have done so?