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Which Padres were Military Veterans?

Jerry and Jonny
Jerry and Jonny

So over Veteran's Day weekend I was trying figure out all the Padres players who served in the Military. Originally I was going to include players, coaches and Minor Leaguers, but that became too much.  Instead we'll just stick with Major League players. 

I emailed the head of Padres Military Marketing Capt. Jack Ensch, USN (Ret.) to see if he had a complete list.  I received a list from the manager of Padres Military Marketing of all Major League Veterans and have been searching for Padres.  Here's who we have so far:

  • Champ Summers
    Summers served in Vietnam with the United States Army.   He was discovered playing in a men's softball league after his service and played in the Major Leagues from 1974-84.  He played 47 games and his final Major League season with the Padres on their National League Championship team.
  • Jason Szuminski
    Szumniski was a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force serving as an individual mobilization augmentee assigned to the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.  He started the season on the 25 man roster in 2004 but was quickly dropped and returned to the Cubs per Rule 5 draft rules.  I was reminded that we interviewed him a little while ago. 
  • Al Bumbry
    Bumbry earned the Bronze Star as a platoon leader in Vietnam. A long time Oriole, Bumbry became a free agent and signed with the San Diego Padres in 1985. However, at age 38, he hit just .200 and stole only two bases, and he retired after the season.
  • Fred Stanley
    Stanley went to High School in San Diego. He missed the 1969 season due to his service in Vietnam and then played for the Padres for one season in 1972.
  • Rich Folkers
    Folkers' Minor League career was interrupted by doing a tour in Vietnam in 1969. After his return he promptly made the big leagues and played the 1975-76 seasons with the Padres.
  • Earl Wilson
    Wilson missed the 1957-1958 seasons because of Military service.  He played with the Padres in 1970.
  • Johnny Podres
    Podres missed the 1956 season due to his Military service.  He played his last season with the Padres in their first season, 1969.

If you can think of anyone else feel free to contribute to the list so that we can honor their service.


Also it's worth noting these other Padres employees that served.  Roger Craig was a Korean War Veteran.  Jerry Coleman, Tony Muser and Sandy Alderson were Marines.  Dick Freeman was a Naval Officer.

Capt. Ensch also tells us about Dick Dent:

Also, Dick Dent (who served as the Padres trainer for over ten years in the 1980’s, was selected as the trainer for the 1984 All-Star game and went to the WS with the Padres that same year) was a decorated US Army infantry officer in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969-70. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, an Air Medal and the Bronze Star w/ two oak leaf clusters - indicating two more awards of the same medal (i.e., 3 Bronze Star awards).

Thanks to the San Diego Padres, the Major League Baseball Alumni Association, Baseball Reference and Gaslamp Ballers texpadres, padres4life and strummer for their help.

Here is the list of all Major League Baseball Military Veterans sent to me by the Padres that are listed on the Honor Wall at Petco Park.