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He played for numerous minor league teams before joining the Dodgers in 1949, for whom he played in only one game.He joined the Chicago Cubs in 1951, playing in 66 games as a first baseman and occasional pinch hitter.In 1966, Connors played an off-field role by helping to end the celebrated holdout by Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax when he acted as an intermediary during negotiations between the team and the players.Connors can be seen in the Associated Press photo with Drysdale, Koufax and Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi announcing the pitchers' new contracts.He spent most of the war as a tank-warfare instructor, stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and later at West Point, New York.During his Army service, Connors moonlighted as a professional basketball player, joining the Rochester Royals and helping to lead them to the 1946 National Basketball League championship.
Connors said in a 1959 interview with TV Guide that the producers of Four Star Television (Dick Powell, Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino and David Niven) must have been looking at 40–50 thirty-something males." At the time, the producers offered a certain amount of money to do 39 episodes for the 1958–59 season.He loved the Brooklyn Dodgers despite their losing record during the 1930s, and hoped to someday join the team himself.Connors's athletic abilities earned him scholarships to both the Adelphi Academy (where he graduated in 1939) and Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky.Connors realized that he would not make a career in professional sports, so he decided to pursue an acting career.Playing baseball near Hollywood proved fortunate, as he was spotted by an MGM casting director and subsequently signed for the 1952 Tracy-Hepburn film Pat and Mike.