A Veterans Day debut

Flyers forward Jeff Carter signs a puck for Staff Sgt. Patricia Hodge after practice yesterday. The Flyers got a visit from troops stationed at Fort Dix in observance of Veterans Day. (Zack Hill)

The Phillies have packed up their gloves, the Eagles are still losing tight games (and Andy Reid is still losing replay challenges), and the Sixers seem poised for yet another excitingly mediocre season. Heck, even the Dad Vail Regatta - a Philadelphia institution since 1953 - is threatening to leave the city because of financial difficulties.

This is not exactly shaping up as a November to remember for Philadelphia sports fans.

It is into this autumnal void that we here at philly.com introduce Pattison Ave. in an attempt to provide a little sports sustenance.

Powered by the philly.com sports staff, this new blog will bring you commentary and newsworthy morsels from across the local and national sports landscape. Think of it as blogospheric scrapple - a flavorful combination of tasty tidbits that we hope will become a Philadelphia staple.

This blog is intended to consistently inform, and occasionally entertain, while constantly provoking conversation about topics both serious and not so serious.

Seeing as how Pattison Ave. makes its debut on Veterans Day, I thought it fitting to start off with a little tribute to some of the great athletes who distinguished themselves on the battlefield as well as the playing field. The following are partial lists of athletes who serves and dies in combat.

As General George S. Patton once famously said, "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men."

Athletes who died in battle:

Eddie Grant, WWI - A former infielder for the New York Giants and three other teams, was killed in action in France
Billy Fiske, WWII - U.S. bobsled gold medalist for the U.S. in 1928 and '32, was the first American pilot killed in World War II.
Elmer Gedeon, WWII - Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1939, died on his 27th birthday when the plane he was piloting was shot down over France.
Nile Kinnick, WWII - 1939 Heisman Trophy winner at Iowa died when his plane went into the sea on a training mission off the aircraft carrier Lexington.
Harry O'Neill, WWII - Catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics died in action on Iwo Jima.
Al Blozis, WWII - New York Giants tackle died serving with the Army in France.
Bob Neighbors, Korea - Shortstop for the 1939 St. Louis Browns died on a mission in 1952.
Bob Kalsu, Vietnam - Buffalo Bills guard was killed July 21, 1970, serving as a lieutenant with an Army artillery unit.
Pat Tillman, Afghanistan - Arizona Cardinals defensive back was killed in a friendly-fire incident in 2004.
Source: New York Times

Other notable athletes who served during wartime:

Yogi Berra, New York Yankees - WWII
Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers - Vietnam
Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees - WWII
Art Donovan, Baltimore Colts - WWII
Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians - WWII
Danielle Green, Notre Dame women's basketball - Iraq
Tom Harmon, Michigan football, 1940 Heisman Trophy winner - WWII
Tim James, Miami Heat - Iraq
Bill Koll, U.S. Olympic wrestler - WWII
Joe Louis, heavyweight boxing champion - WWII
Warren Spahn, Boston/Milwaukee Braves - WWII
Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys - Vietnam
Cecil Travis, Washington Senators - WWII
Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox - WWII
Source: ESPN