The memorial outside a Navy barracks simply consists of a soldier's boots, rifle and helmet. That's pretty much all that was left after the Navy SEAL fell on a grenade that had been tossed into a room amid him and four buddies.

The four other SEALs walked away, and the man who saved their lives is memorialized at the Navy SEAL Training Center on San Diego's Coronado Island. Jeff Baker, Rangers utility player and strong supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, viewed the memorial a few years ago when he and other members of the Cubs were given a private tour.

The image remains vivid in his mind and is not readily forgotten.

"People say they would fall on a grenade, but those guys really mean it," Baker said. "For those guys, it is second nature, there is nothing more honorable. I have so much respect for them. I'm beyond baffled and honored by those guys."

The memorial is especially profound for a "military brat." Baker's dad, Larry, spent 22 years in the United States Army, retiring as a colonel. Col. Baker served in air defense, which included nuclear weapons, and taught at West Point. Jeff was born in Germany, and the family lived all over the world, from El Paso, Texas, Key West, Fla., and Norfolk, Va., to Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Egypt.

Jeff Baker was also a star baseball player at Woodbridge (Va.) Gar-Field High School, winning Virginia State Player of the Year in 1999, and an All-American at Clemson University, so his career path took a straight line to Major League Baseball rather than the military.