Chuck Connors was an athlete his entire life. He played sandlot ball as a youngster in Brooklyn and his big dream was playing for his home town team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. He did eventually achieve this dream but his sports career took a lot of turns. At the same time he was playing baseball, he played basketball and he was one of the first players in the NBA.
Chuck played basketball for two teams: the Rochester Royals and the Boston Celtics. He was one of the original Celtics at the formation of the NBA. Chuck is one of only of 12 athletes to play both professional baseball and basketball.
Chuck on NBA Encyclopedia
Chuck's baseball career ran from 1940 - 1952 and he played for both minor and major league teams, finishing up his career with the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. Los Angeles was the perfect stepping stone to his next career as an actor. Even during his military service (1942-1945) Chuck played both basketball and baseball on weekends. During the winter of 1949 Chuck played baseball on the American Team in Cuba and was chosen for the All Star team.
Chuck's baseball career wasn't without some injury. In 1940, Chuck broke a finger and only played a few games because of it. In 1948, he was hit in the mouth with a ball and needed 5 stitches. Then in 1949, he was hit in the head, knocked unconscious and had to be carried off the field. In March 1952, he hurt his right hand and in April he tore muscles in his left shoulder. In July of the same year, Chuck injured his right shoulder in a play at 3rd base. When Chuck announced he would retire from baseball in February 1953, he stated that his back muscles that were badly injured in 1952 hadn't completely healed.
Those injuries didn't stop Chuck from loving baseball. While filming the movie Geronimo, a baseball game was organized to raise money for a children's charity in Mexico. The Apaches played in their costumes as did their opponents, the U.S. Cavalry. Chuck played hard even for a charity game, he cut his knee open sliding into base and had to have stitches.
The Chuck Connors Invitational Golf Tournaments raised thousands of dollars for charities for over 15 years. The Tournaments were held at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort, formerly known as Palm Springs National, located in Palm Springs, California. The generous donations received from these events and his personal appearances, went to charities that were very close to his heart, including Angel View Crippled Children's Foundation, United Way and to officers that were wounded in the line of duty.
Among the many celebrities that participated in the tournaments over the years include, former President Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, Frank Sinatra, David Janssen, O.J. Simpson, Jim Brown, Lou Rawls, Dean Martin, Arnold Palmer, Jackie Gleason, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas, Robert Wagner, Magic Johnson, Richard Long, Bill Bixby, Robert Stack and many others.