John Glenn, who died Thursday at 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth, the oldest man in space when he was part of the shuttle Discovery's crew in 1998 and a member of the U.S. Senate for 24 years. But sports fans might also know that Glenn had Ted Williams as his wingman on combat missions when they were U.S. Marine pilots during the Korean War.
Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune interviewed Glenn and Williams in 2002 for a column titled "Two guys you'd love to have on your side." From Greene's story:
Williams on Glenn: "John Glenn? Oh ... could he fly an airplane. Absolutely fearless. The best I ever saw. It was an honor to fly with him."
Glenn on Williams: "He was just great. The same skills that made him the best baseball hitter ever -- the eye, the coordination, the discipline -- are what he used to make himself an excellent combat pilot."
Thanks to Twitter, here are two pictures of Glenn and Williams together. One was from their days in combat. The other was from a meeting of the two in 1998.
— Francisco Urena (@Urena) November 12, 2016
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 8, 2016
While these are classic photos, here's another shot of Glenn, via Sports Illustrated, that is memorable for an entirely different reason. Check out Glenn meeting Auburn forward Charles Barkley in 1984: