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Old February 25th, 2016, 10:04 AM   #1

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President Roosevelt Called Baseball a Wartime Morale Booster


From,

https://www.archives.gov/publication...reenlight.html


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After the attack on Pearl Harbor, which finally drew the United States into the world conflict, life in America changed. Able-bodied men were quickly being drafted into the armed forces, essential materials were being rationed, and priorities everywhere were shifting—from the highest levels of government to average families. Wartime required a change in the regular way of doing things, and people were willing to make sacrifices.

In January 1942, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the legendary commissioner of baseball, sent Roosevelt a handwritten letter, asking if major league baseball should be suspended for the duration of the war." The time is approaching when, in ordinary conditions, our teams would be heading for Spring training camps. However, inasmuch as these are not ordinary times, I venture to ask what you have in mind as to whether professional baseball should continue to operate," Landis wrote. "Of course, my inquiry does not relate at all to individual members of this organization, whose status, in the emergency, is fixed by law operating upon all citizens"3 Landis closed his letter: "Health and strength to you—and whatever else it takes to do this job."

Roosevelt's answer went out the next day. It left no doubt where the former "Bum Base Ball Boy" stood on the matter. "I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going," he wrote Landis in what has become known as "the green light letter." The President continued: "There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before."4
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Old February 25th, 2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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I don't know if you are aware of this history, by as Rosey the Riveter gave service to the country in the shipyards, so did young women give service to the country by playing baseball.

League History

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By the fall of 1942, many minor league teams disbanded due to the war. Young men, 18 years of age and over, were being drafted into the armed services. The fear that this pattern would continue and that Major League Baseball Parks across the country were in danger of collapse is what prompted Philip K. Wrigley, the chewing-gum mogul who had inherited the Chicago Cubs' Major League Baseball franchise from his father, to search for a possible solution to this dilemma. Wrigley asked Ken Sells, assistant to the Chicago Cubs' General Manager to head a committee to come up with ideas. The committee recommended a girls' softball league be established to be prepared to go into Major League parks should attendance fall due to franchises losing too many quality players to attract crowds.
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Old February 25th, 2016, 10:57 AM   #3

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Thanks for the link, it gaves a nice thorough overview. Also... The Tom Hanks movie A League of their own is not only a lot of fun but reasonably accurate.
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Old February 25th, 2016, 03:10 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
I don't know if you are aware of this history, by as Rosey the Riveter gave service to the country in the shipyards, so did young women give service to the country by playing baseball.

League History
I'm aware of this. I think its great. Baseball played a massive role in unfiying the country during WW2 IMO. The female baseball leagues entertained many Americans of all colors and sexes ....and so did the Negro baseball leagues.

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Thanks for the link, it gaves a nice thorough overview. Also... The Tom Hanks movie A League of their own is not only a lot of fun but reasonably accurate.
Was a very good film IMO.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 07:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for the link, it gaves a nice thorough overview. Also... The Tom Hanks movie A League of their own is not only a lot of fun but reasonably accurate.
Oh yes, and that is why I knew of the female league. I keep a copy of the movie.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 07:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JoanOfArc007 View Post
I'm aware of this. I think its great. Baseball played a massive role in unfiying the country during WW2 IMO. The female baseball leagues entertained many Americans of all colors and sexes ....and so did the Negro baseball leagues.



Was a very good film IMO.
I am not sure what direction you want this thread to go? I have a series of grade school textbooks published in 1940 called "Democracy Series". There is absolutely no question that these series of textbooks was preparing the US for war with Germany.

I also have a copy of the 1917 National Education Association Conference, and it is absolutely clear public education was used to mobilize us for war, and vocational training was added to education at this time because the military disparately need trained mechanics, typist, carpenters, etc..

My grandmother became a teacher around 1917 and spent her life defending democracy in the classroom. You wrote of unifying the US and that is what our education used to be about. It had nothing to do with vocational training until 1917, but was about Americanizing immigrants and preparing everyone for good citizenship. It was assumed the immigrant parents would learn citizenship from their children. Industry attempted to close the schools, claiming the war caused a labor shortage, the teachers argued, an institution for creating good citizens is good for creating patriotic citizens, and that even if we won the war our nation would be devastated if we didn't replace all the educated men who would be killed in war.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 11:42 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
. . .
My grandmother became a teacher around 1917 and spent her life defending democracy in the classroom. You wrote of unifying the US and that is what our education used to be about. It had nothing to do with vocational training until 1917, but was about Americanizing immigrants and preparing everyone for good citizenship. It was assumed the immigrant parents would learn citizenship from their children. . . ..
Preparing children to be citizens is still the primary (and perhaps the only legitimate) reason for government funded public schools, IMO.

Otherwise, an interesting thread, even though I don't care any more about baseball.
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Old February 27th, 2016, 05:03 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by athena View Post
I am not sure what direction you want this thread to go?
Just as it has been going, to showcase how Baseball played a role as wartime morale booster for the USA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by athena View Post
I have a series of grade school textbooks published in 1940 called "Democracy Series". There is absolutely no question that these series of textbooks was preparing the US for war with Germany.

I also have a copy of the 1917 National Education Association Conference, and it is absolutely clear public education was used to mobilize us for war, and vocational training was added to education at this time because the military disparately need trained mechanics, typist, carpenters, etc..

My grandmother became a teacher around 1917 and spent her life defending democracy in the classroom. You wrote of unifying the US and that is what our education used to be about. It had nothing to do with vocational training until 1917, but was about Americanizing immigrants and preparing everyone for good citizenship. It was assumed the immigrant parents would learn citizenship from their children. Industry attempted to close the schools, claiming the war caused a labor shortage, the teachers argued, an institution for creating good citizens is good for creating patriotic citizens, and that even if we won the war our nation would be devastated if we didn't replace all the educated men who would be killed in war.
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Old February 29th, 2016, 03:20 PM   #9
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Just as it has been going, to showcase how Baseball played a role as wartime morale booster for the USA.
Okay, here is another feel good link about how baseball made the war years a little easier.

Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military During World War II (Book Review) | HistoryNet

Quote:
Steven R. Bullock, an assistant professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, documents just what a firm grip baseball held. Within months of Pearl Harbor, military baseball was in full swing everywhere, from Stateside installations to the most remote outposts. In every theater of operations Americans took along bats, bases and an enthusiasm for the national pastime. At times it seemed as though military engineers laid down as many diamonds as they put up latrines. One island alone in the Marianas chain had 10 baseball leagues and 60 diamonds. Isolated Americans formed the White Sea Baseball League in the Soviet city of Murmansk. In the Asian theater, the Japanese and Americans captured each other’s baseball diamonds. The European and North African theaters had leagues so well organized that they competed in their own versions of the World Series. Baseball even became a staple relaxation of American prisoners of war in German camps.

Major League Baseball gave its all for the nation. Fully 90 percent of major league players active in 1941 ended up exchanging their baseball uniforms for military fatigues. Amazingly, not one major league player was killed in combat: Viewed as valuable recruiting and morale tools, nearly all were prevented from seeing combat.
Remember Good Morning Vietnam and Robin Williams playing baseball with the Vietnamese? That was a good example of how baseball could bring some pleasure into hard times and bring people together.
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Old February 29th, 2016, 03:33 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by athena View Post
Okay, here is another feel good link about how baseball made the war years a little easier.

Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military During World War II (Book Review) | HistoryNet
Thx for the information. Some say that during WW2, that the best military teams were better then the best MLB teams. This makes sense, considering the MLB and Negro league players that played together on the military teams during WW2.



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Remember Good Morning Vietnam and Robin Williams playing baseball with the Vietnamese? That was a good example of how baseball could bring some pleasure into hard times and bring people together.
Agreed.
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