Gregorian: Negro Leagues players made history fighting for country that wasn’t fighting for them

From Vahe Gregorian at the Kansas City Star on June 8, 2019:

Chances are you know about the likes of Bob Feller, Ted Williams and Hank Greenberg being among the hundreds of Major League Baseball players to enlist in the armed services for World War II, seeking one way or another to “throw a few strikes for Uncle Sam,” as Feller once put it.

More specific to the solemn moment to pause and reflect on Thursday, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, maybe you know about 19-year-old Yogi Berra manning a machine gun in a landing craft missile boat to lend cover to troops wading toward Normandy.

Much less understood and celebrated, though, is the role Negro Leagues players held in the campaign.

Some 119 served in WWII, including Buck O’Neil and two who were honored Thursday by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and a Navy delegation for their service on D-Day: Future Baseball Hall of Famers Willard Brown and Leon Day were among some 2,000 African-Americans involved in the monumental undertaking that changed the course of history.

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Originally published: June 10, 2019. Last Updated: June 10, 2019.