Memorial Day is all about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and pro athletes have been part of that mix since World War I. Here's a look at some of the more notable athletes who lost their lives in service:

Athletes Killed In Action


Pat Tillman

Tillman became an instant hero when he turned down a multi-million dollar contract extension with the Cardinals to enlist in the Army shortly after the 9/11 attacks.


Pat Tillman

His legacy turned tragic when he was gunned down by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.


Hobey Baker

Baker, a hockey and football star at Princeton, was a member of the Army Air Service (the forerunner to the Air Force) during World War I. He died during a test flight in France. Baker is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, and the Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the best player in NCAA hockey.


Nile Kinnick

The Iowa halfback, who also passed, punted and returned kicks, was the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner. He joined the Navy during World War II and was killed in a training flight in 1943. Iowa's football stadium was named in his memory in 1972.


Jack Lummus

Lummus was a baseball and football star at Baylor, and played the 1941 season in the NFL as an end with the Giants. He then enlisted in the Marines and was killed on Iwo Jima, but his heroics in that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.


Bob Kalsu

Kalsu was an All-American offensive lineman at Oklahoma and played the 1968 season with the Bills. He was then deployed to Vietnam and killed in 1970. The Bills added him to the team's Wall of Fame in 2000.


Don Steinbrunner

Steinbrunner, a football and basketball star at Washington State, played one season (1953) as a tackle for the Browns before an injury ended his NFL career. He joined the Air Force and was shot down in Vietnam in 1967.


Al Blozis

Blozis was an offensive tackle with the Giants for three seasons before heading into the Army. He was killed in France in 1945. The Giants have retired his No. 32. Blozis, who starred at Georgetown, is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Elmer Gedeon

Gedeon (pictured on the right as a member of the Washington Senators) starred in baseball, football and track at Michigan. He played five games for the Senators in 1939, then was drafted into the Army. He was killed in 1944 when his plane was shot down in France.


Eddie Grant

Grant played various infield positions for the Phillies, Reds and Giants during his 10-year MLB career that ended in 1915. He retired and became a lawyer but enlisted in the Army when the U.S. got involved with World War I. He was killed in France in 1918.

previous next

In addition to former Giants infielder Elmer Gedeon (featured in slide No. 8 above), there was one other MLB player killed in World War II. Harry O'Neill appeared in one game as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939. O'Neill joined the Marines and was killed on Iwo Jima in 1945.

The Big Ten's football MVP in 1942, Wisconsin receiver Dave Schreiner, was a second-round pick by the Lions but joined the Marines and was killed in the Battle of Okinawa.

Popular Stories On ThePostGame:
-- Former Browns Tackle Don Steinbrunner Was Shot Down In Vietnam
-- 9 Unique Grilling Ideas For Memorial Day Weekend
-- Summer Beers That Won't Break Your Budget
-- Secrets For Better Grilling