18. A Baseball Icon at War
Yogi Berra, one of only five players to have ever won the American League MVP three times, was also an 18 time All Star who won 10 World Series – more than any other player in MLB history. After his playing days were over, Berra went into coaching and managing. Between 1947 and 1981, he was a player, coach, or manager, in every New York team that made it to the World Series. All in all, he appeared in 22 World Series, and won 13 of them. Less known about Yogi Berra is that he took a break from baseball to fight in WWII.
The Yankees signed Yogi Berra in 1942, but he interrupted his career to serve in the US Navy. He wound up as a gunner’s mate aboard the USS Bayfield, an attack transport. On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Berra served on detached duty aboard a Navy rocket boat, lobbing missiles and firing machine guns at German positions on Omaha Beach. He was also sent to Utah Beach, to support the GIs there. Berra’s craft came under enemy fire, but luckily for him and for baseball, he escaped injury.