Tommy Warren: A WWII Veteran Turned MLB Pitcher

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Growing up in Oklahoma, Tommy Warren was an all-state athlete in football and basketball, but his real love was baseball. He signed a contract to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941, and he looked to be on the verge of a promising career as a fastball pitcher.

But professional baseball, it turned out, would not be a part of Tommy Warren's immediate future. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Warren joined the Navy.

"My father voided his contract with the Dodgers and joined the U.S. Navy," David Warren tells producer Greg Echlin. "On Jan. 21, 1942, he was informed that he qualified for trade school — it was medical — but, also, he qualified for the baseball. And they said baseball can come first and trade school second. So he started practicing baseball.

"At that time he started a diary, his war diary, and I hold it in my hands as we speak. Part I wanna read to you: 'Changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go to sea. Baseball manager doesn't like it.'"

But there were problems ahead.

David Warren tells his father's story, In His Own WordsTo hear the full story, click the play button below the headline at the top of the page.

This segment aired on May 21, 2016.



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