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Baseball During WWII

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Andrew Nemeroff

on 9 December 2014

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Transcript of Baseball During WWII

Baseball During WWII
Baseball in America
Pearl Harbor had such a large effect on the Nation and its people causing many to go to enlist and re-enlist in the armed forces. The events of December 7th, 1941, really brought out a lot of patriotism in our country. Even some major leaguers re-enlisted such as the great Hank Greenberg. Famous players such as Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and rising star Bob Feller quickly rushed to their countries’ aid.
Professional Baseball Players Going into the War
Baseball in North Africa
Professional Baseball Players Going Into War
Baseball in America
Baseball in America
Professional Baseball Players Going Into War
Professional Baseball Players Going Into War
Professional Baseball Players Going Into War
The war affected many professional baseball players because to enter the war, leave behind their loved ones, and set aside their careers. They sacrificed all they had back home to fight in the war for our country. In addition to this the family back home had to deal with finding a way to stay afloat with the man of the house not present.
Minor leaguers were even more affected by the war because they were not as high concern as the great major leaguers. Around 4,000 minor league players went off to war and some were put on the front line. No more than 12 minor leagues survived during the years of the war while there was 44 circuits before the war.
Our nations fighting forces were totally unprepared to be involved in a war. The Selective Training Service Act or Draft was signed by FDR on September 16, 1940. Every male between the ages of 21 and 36 had to register to serve in the armed forces for one year. The draft put two million men in the armed forces by 1941. Over 500 MLB players went to war from 1942 to 1945.
Baseball continued throughout America’s involvement in the war but it was not the same. Attendance and team revenue went down. Also during the war the caliber of the baseball players were obviously lower than what it previously was.
Baseball in America
During the early years of the war, baseball added an all-star game between the best of the MLB and the Best of the men in the military. In 1945 though they had to cancel the rest of those all-star games because travel restrictions got so severe.
The continuation of baseball in America during the war was questionable until Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Baseball's head commissioner, received the famous “Green Light” letter in 1942 from FDR. FDR sent his opinion and said that we need to keep baseball going because it will enlighten people and even though the teams may not be as good, the game will never become dull and unpopular. In addition to FDR's response Private Stevenson said, "For the morale of the soldier and the moral of America Itself, keep ‘em playing.”
Baseball During WWII
By: Mason Petersen and Andrew Nemeroff
Baseball After the War
Since the war was coming to an end many of our beloved players returned to the ball field and added much more excitement to the game. Shortly after the war, the sport became so popular that radio and television stations began to broadcast the games live bringing back millions of fans. The war at the time seemed to hurt the game of baseball but in the end it gave baseball character and an attitude to keep moving forward. The game was finally regaining its old state of greatness and will be an inspiration for all the generations to come.
In 1943, Zeke Bonura, a Major League Baseball player who went into WWII, was posted in Algeria. During his time in Algeria, he created a large, North African-based baseball organization that consisted of 150 team within 6 leagues. In these leagues, the teams would go through season play and the top teams from each league would go into the playoffs. The season went on and then the playoffs finally narrowed down to two teams: The Casablanca Yankees, consisting of medics, who went 32-2 and the Algiers Streetwalkers, consisting of MPs, who went 17-3. These two teams played a best-two-out-of-three series played in Algiers, Algeria on October 3rd and 4th, 1943. The Casablanca Yankees won the series by winning the first two games. The Algiers Streetwalkers received baseballs signed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Casablanca Yankees received a trophy made up of an unexploded Italian bomb.
While the baseball players were off at war baseball became the most popular sport among the soldiers. Many leagues among soldiers were created. Some of the league games were played in the most awkward place: the conquered Hitler Youth Stadium where Nazi rallies were held a short time ago. Worlds Series-like games were held in the leagues. A World Series-like game was to be played in the stadium between a U.S. team full of Major and Minor leaguers and a French team who was not very good compared to the Americans.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Business mogul Phillip Wrigley, also the owner of the Chicago Cubs at the time, was feared by the possible collapse of many ballparks due to many young baseball players being put in the war. Determined to find a solution to this crisis, Wrigley and a group of Midwestern businessmen founded the All-American Girls Softball League. However, the league changed its name to the name many people recognize it as, The All-American Professional Girls Baseball League. This provided as a viable alternative to the sub-par Major League Baseball during the war years. The league was created in 1943 and it ran all the way until 1954.
Most companies during the war switched their production lines over to help the war effort. Many were either forced to change or decided to change their production line because of the enormous profit they would receive.
Baseball Before the War
Before the war, baseball was at its peak during the late 30's and the early 40's. Many great dynasties emerged such as the legendary New York Yankees and many great baseball players such as Ted Williams and Bob Feller flourished during this time. However, the events at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 would change the game of baseball forever.
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