These celebs found success on the ballfield
Though he would go on to enjoy an even longer tenure as Dr. Steve Hardy on “General Hospital,” Beradino — then known as Johnny Berardino — spent 11 years in the majors (interrupted in his prime by World War II). He finished 25th in the voting for American League Most Valuable Player in 1946.
Before he became “The Rifleman,” Connors was briefly a teammate of Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, then went to the Chicago Cubs in a trade. In 1951, he hit .239 in 66 games as a first baseman. He also played professional basketball with the Boston Celtics.
Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies out of North Hollywood High School in 1951, the future Broadway star and TV personality spent two years as a minor-league outfielder with Klamath Falls (Ore.), Miami (Okla.) and Salina (Kansas).
Principal Vernon from “The Breakfast Club” played in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox in the late ’50s-early ’60s.
The famed singer pitched for the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues during the 1950s while still a teenager.
Not long after “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” Russell made a name for himself in spikes, earning Northwest League All-Star honors as a second baseman with a .385 on-base percentage for Bend (Ore.) in the Angels organization. A torn rotator cuff led to his retirement and return to acting.
The longtime film and television actor was the third player selected in the 1971 draft, but he injured his back and then his shoulder while in the Montreal Expos organization.
The “Bull Durham” director learned firsthand about the minors from 1966 to 1971, originally as a pitcher before switching to second base, peaking at the AAA level, just below the majors.