The 2017 Major League Baseball World Series gets underway today with the Astros and Dodgers looking to earn long-awaited championships.
Both teams are filled with former American Legion Baseball players and also feature impressive histories with Legion Baseball alums.
For the Dodgers, nine former American Legion Baseball players went on to play for the Dodgers and reach the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jim Bunning (Dodger tenure: 1969), Roy Campanella (1948-1957), Gary Carter (1991), Don Drysdale (1956-69), Greg Maddux (2006, 08), Joe Medwick (1940-43, 46), Eddie Murray (1989-91, 97), Frank Robinson (1972) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1971-72).
Carter was the 1981 American Legion Baseball Graduate of the Year and Maddux was the 1994 honoree.
Robinson, the only player to win the Most Valuable Player award in both leagues and MLB’s first African-American manager, was the Graduate of the Year in 1966.
In addition, Babe Ruth is a former coach of the Dodgers. Ruth, whose high school career predated Legion Baseball, served as an advocate for American Legion Baseball in his waning years.
Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom finished his stellar career in 1936 with the Dodgers. Lindstrom’s son, Chuck, went onto a major league career of his own after his Illinois Legion team became runners-up in the 1953 American Legion World Series and he was named the American Legion Player of the Year.
The Astros have had six Legion alums go on to Hall of Fame careers: Jeff Bagwell (Astros: 1991-2005), Nellie Fox (Astros: 1964-1965), Eddie Matthews (Astros: 1967), Joe Morgan (Astros: 1963-1971, 1980) and Robin Roberts (Astros tenure: 1965-1966).
Bagwell joined Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez, also Legion Baseball alums, in the most recent Hall of Fame class.
Morgan was presented The American Legion’s James V. Day “Good Guy” Award during the organization’s recent 99th National Convention in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 21.
The 2017 American Legion World Series champions, Henderson, Nev., Post 40, will attend Game 4 of the World Series and help host a Play Ball clinic.