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tv   Boston Red Sox World War II  CSPAN  December 30, 2020 11:00am-12:05pm EST

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p.m. eastern on american art fa artifacts we visit the american history museum. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on licktu lectures in history, kathleen duval on the end of the american revolution. and sunday, at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "the presidency." the gallery's new exhibit "every eye is upon me" first ladies of the united states. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span three. >> boston red sox historian g
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gordan is leading a discussion on the insight of the athletes training, combat experience, and what it was like when they came home. the massachusetts historical society provided the video. >> today we have a great program that will explore one of the most popular topics in boston, which is the boston red sox. specifically the red sox and world war two. we will be joined bay great panel that will be lase bay good friend gordon ede serks. he covered the team for 18 years for the boston globe and for espn. i will let you know a couple protocols that we use with zoom.
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there will be a program that will run about 45 or 50 minutes with our panelists speaking. then we will open it up to the audience for q and a. if you would like to participate in the q and a. you use the function at the bottom of your screen and type in your question. we should be able to read the questions and get to as many as we possibly can. we will try to get to as many as possible, but with over 150 people attending we may not be able to get to all of them. so thank you for joining us. without further adieu, i will toss this off to gordon. >> thank you so much. welcome everyone. gatt rin told me just before we started that if i do one more presentation at u mass historical i will be eligible for insurance. i'm hoping to stick around next year. i wish we were in different
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circumstances and that i would be leading you on the short walk over to fenway park which we have done for past evented. we live and hope that day will come again, but in the meantime so delighted that so many of you have elected to join us tonight and as gavin noted we have a great panel. it's my privilege as we embark on this discussion on the 75th anniversary, and the red sox participation in the great war, it is my pleasure to introduce my panel. i'm going to begin with ann keene who is a native. she authored one of the most unique books about baseball and world war ii.
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cloud buster nine: the untold story of ted williams and the baseball team that helped win world war ii. >> thank you so much. >> it is a story that ann unearthed while preparing the eue eulogy for her dad. ann, we are thrilled that you're joining us this evening. >> michael connolly is a lifetime resident of the boston neighborhood of west rocksbury. he has written five books which includes "26 miles to boston." another called "rebound:
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basketball bussing, larry bird, and the rise of larry bird." and "the president's team" about the great navel academy team of 1953 that included roger stalbach. he is also one of the four founding members of the boston bull pen project, thank you for joining us this evening. we can't wait to hear your story. and this man is no stranger to most of you, the most proliveic writer ever on red sox history, don't even bother to protest that. he has forgotten more red sox
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history than most of us know. he is the head of the society for miles per hour baseball research. he was a go foujder in his other life. he is an author of countless books on the sox including "when baseball went to war." and also "ted williams at war." he has been a panelist in previous presentations that i have been honored to host. welcome and thank you for being here. >> i forgot what it was like to have fenway park filled with fans. >> right? so before we begin our discussion, let me do a little scene setting for you. i want to take you back to september 28th, 1941, when the eyes of baseball were on philadelphia's park. the last day of the rogue lar season. the red sox were homelessly out
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of contention. 17 games or so behind the yankees, but the reason that baseball was focussed there that afternoon is ted williams in his third season as a major leaguer had a chance to become the first 400 hitter in the american league since 1923. now ted could have sat out, the red sox were scheduled to play a double header. he could have sat out because his average was .3995 plus. in baseball they would have rounded it up to 400, but he didn't want to back into it. he insisted on playing and he got six hits in eight at bats in that double header. ended up with an average o of .406, and he remains the last player to hit over 400. but on that same day there was
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other prying eyes. 5,000 miles away in hawaii where japanese spies were casing pefrl harbor. now, the president at the time had determined that america was unprepared. so they already implemented the draft in which all men all able bodies men were able to register. it would be in march of 1941 that the first major leaguer was called up into the service. a brighton boy of all things.
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a graduate of brighton high school. he was a pitcher who had the rather snarky nickname of "losing pitcher." he lost 76 games for the phillies who were the door mats of the national league at the time. so mokahi was the first to go in. i believe he was assigned to ft. devins. but soon enough much bigger names would be joining the coming conflict including hank greenburg. the shlugging first baseman. he goes into the service and then within a day or two within
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the bombing of pearl harbor, a number of players immediately enlisted, most notably the future hall of fame pitcher. 500 big leaguers would be serving including 30 on the red sox roster and over 4,000 minor leaguers. no major leaguer died in combat. but over 45 are wounded including two hall of famers. that includes hoyt wilhelm. so that is setting the stage. the big question for major league baseball as an institution was to play or not to play?
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and that lead to the commissioner of baseball at the time writing what would become known as the green light let tore fdr seeking guidance on what baseball should do. michael, can you pick up the story from there? >> sure, the letter from the commissioner talked about this not being ordinary times, and the decision no play in such a serious military action was going on. he reached out to the president with a letter in january of 1942 and asked should we play or not. president roosevelt sat right down and returned that later with the words "i honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. i think they saw it as part of americana transcending the arena. it was more important for
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comradery and moral. and that played out as men in fox holes were watching box scores, and people were working double shifts and coming home to watch baseball. >> michael, is it also true that it may have actually encouraged the proliferation of night games in major league baseball? didn't fdr make the point to judge landis, for the purposes of moral like you noted, wouldn't it be great if some of off at 5:00 and go to a game. >> they were also scheduling games at 11:00 in the morning so they were working around all of the shifts to make sure as many americans could participate in the support and that baseball could play a role in the effort.
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>> did that lead the players in kind of a no man's land of whether or not they should play or because, you know, he said in essence you're an essential service, and you're performing an essential role, but if they're brothers and neighbors and kwuuncles are all going int the service, did that create some conflict for them? and i guess we can bring up ted williams in this context as well. >> it was a difficult decision for everyone. war was anticipated and then suddenly thrust upon america. ted williams applied for deferment because he was the sole support of his mother and he was granted one as almost everybody in baseball was.
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but when pearl harbor hit, the whole thing changed. people started saying here are able bodied athletes that ought to be prepared to fight with everyone else. shortly after pearl harbor, about a month later, he was pulled back and he was relass if ied classified 1a. he was again granted it. and it was a little bit of discomfort, even in the red sox organization wondering if this was good pr to have their star player granted a deferment. and there was a little pressure that was developed. but he went around on spring training and got support from servicemen and gave him a big round of applause.
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so he decided to make his point, stick with it, and then in may he signed up for the navy to take effect at the end of the season. >> he took a pretty good beating in the press, correct? and -- >> some of the press. there was those like dave egan who spoke up for him. but it was a mixed balg. he was the sole support of his mother, she didn't bring in any money on his own. he was prepared and he knew he informs a difficult situation. >> what about the fans? he took, even at home, at fenway
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park, some fans let him know that they were not terribly pleased with how this was unfolding. >> they appreciated the fact that they were playing. they had sons, and hundred dollars in the war, so they were playing the boys game and having the opportunity to have his classification change from 1 a to 3a. ted lost an endorsement over this and he was expecting to be booed in every park. but he stepped up to the plate and he heard all of the boos from the 9900 people that attended opening day until he hit it ten rows over the bull pen and then he got a standing ovation. >> so you pick up ted's story for us.
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and in as ted winds up going to north carolina to flight instructor school, but please, share with us your personal story of how this saga ended up engaging so completely. >> i want to tell you i'm a native north carolinian. my father became a professional player. he got ahold of some scrapbooks. it was a base, it was ground training, one of the toughest programs in the world. next is my dad, and the navy public zest. and the head survival guide who
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was close to to the guys that came down to amhurst. most of these players play the majority of their military ball and the next slide we'll show you a little about the culture. i got ahold of this copic book. these guys really work out and there you go. my dad there as a kid reading the magazine. it is amazing how things come together after people pass away and you start digging through scrapbooks. the next pick schur a page picture -- this was a famous picture i believe in sporting news.
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it is about -- he is in his late 80s, he is on the knee of johnny. my dad with a baseball coach. i'm going to rattle through these pretty quickly. i don't in anyone remembers johnny morris, came over from durham and of course big tobacco being in north carolina in the dugout in one of the games. and next slide there you go. johnny was always happy. always had a bare bones. th they, in the week, they hit the road on broken down buses on wednesday and often on ted
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plays. he there was for about three months. the next slide, there is happy johnny. he didn't know how to swim when he got there. i found that fascinating. always with a big smile on his face. >> is it also true that he washed out in pilot training this week as well. >> i think he did, i believe that happened on the next faze of advanced training. i got ahold of his training records and the instructors would write "you know he knows how to do it, but he can't. he is a menace to the airfield. i think he is bright, he ended up flourishing as a coach, but not a great pilot. >> we're all fine with that. a beloved figure and we miss him dearly.
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>> right, are love him. >> so i think there s rereunions at some of the games, that's from chapel hill. jou to kwint to read the writing on t on the plaque. that that is a piece of memorabilia that i have been collecting over the year. this is fantastic. this is when ted was in chapel hill and he got away on a rare occasion for one of the all-star games. and this is, i'm going to touch on this later. it might be a good point to pause, but i opened by book.
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indians and yankees against the navy pilots in july of 1943 and we will touch on that later. >> thank you, lynn. while we're focused as can be. a great deal on players on the active roster at the time that world war two broke out, we would be remiss, i think you would all agree, if we didn't touch on two stories of guys no longer playing at that time. one was mo berg. we could do an entire presentation on this evidently as a baseball player, he was quite satisfied with his lot in life as a back up catcher in an ultimate league bull pen catcher. but mo in the early 1930s, we
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made a couple trips to japan. and while over there, he kind of sauntered into, i believe a hospital on the pretext of this city there. he took a camera and he end up to the roof and did all sorts of installations in tokyo. as the story was later told, james do little used mo's photos when he bombed tokyo in the great raid on the battle of tokyo. so the write near wrote the story, it became a novel, has
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cast some doubt on how useful those were for do little. he was recruited into the ranks of the officers strategic services that was the precursor of the cia. and it was involved in the trip to europe to take in a lecture. they were developing an atomic bomb and he has instructions to -qñ heisenb. he was struinstructed to take h out if that was his intent, but that didn't happen.
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how much of it of is rooted in fact. michael, you wrote about it, what is your sense? a little bit of -- >> maybe a little bit of both. i found it interesting in '42. ted williams was a teammate in the 1932 team together. he had 145 rbis, mo had 5 rbis. flash forward and now mo is the bull pen coach. he says i would like to be let out of my contract so i can join the military in one way or another. all part of that great generation. >> go ahead, bill. >> when the red sox opened the
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season, i went in and took the pictures. i went in to see, it has changed a lot since his day. they are all photographs of baseball. he did not receive his wings, but he worked in logistics and supply. ted williams was made a gunnery instructor. so they had regular duties. we don't want to give people the impression they were just playing baseball all of the time. >> at this burglar sports camp, they learned to box and wrestle.
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they ran track. they spent nights out in the woods. they say you have two days to make -- it was full scale full on training. ly show you some images of other famous cadets. there military service different sports. >> the other story that i'm just so taken with, and it is a story that i was unfamiliar with until i became a red sox hiss torian. a local kid, grew up, on the sand lots by a red sox coach. he was the first jewish player. . he was a outfielder. he hit two home runs, b arabe h
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only one. opened a vak foir to make tin cans. also played in the local boston sand lot leagues. he tries to inlist. he is rejected. he has bad teeth, bad knees, they said forget about it. a couple years later, and i think his son lied about his age. so in 163, out of his own pocket, pays to get his knees and teeth.
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bill, pick up the story from there? >> buddy was killed on christmas day in 1943 at new britain. the marines were trying to capture some japanese airfields, the u.s. marine core lost 325 soldiers that day. he just turned 17 and he was killed. his dad, of course, was already serving and was on the ship over in europe. and he nine months later he had his own misfortune he was on a mine sweeper. it blew up the ship and 58 members of that crew was killed. he lost the use of his legs and he was wheel share bound the rest of his life.
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he spent a lot of his life doing charitable work. what a story. >> it is a great story and i was so taken by the fact that it was such a tragic event he became such a force as an advocate for groups. he was given his own day at fenway park. i believe you said, he is about a block or so from where you live? >> yes, buried in a cemetery just outside of west rocksbury. next to his son, buddy, and an amazing chapter to say the least. he continues to find a way to
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give, and i think he is under recognized. >> i think he may be a future candidate. we certainly give that a close look. you know one of the aspects they would like to tour is in addition to the involvement of the players and all. the red sox heard from a lot of gis that were serving overseas. and you tell a couple great stories in your book about a dozen or so marines. all greater boston residents. they write to him and they say
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when we return we would like opening day tickets, he says i know you can't tell me where you are, but i can tell you where you will be opening day when you get back and there will be tickets ready for you. and it talks again about how baseball uncovers. and they have something to look forward to when they get. >> and you talk about a fighter pilot. >> yeah, he was the first base hann on the team. he enlists and becomes a fighter pilot. he writes and says for every japanese plane i shoot down will you give me a red sox hat. they're so thankful that the crew puts together a bracelet made out of planes they shut
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down, they send it to his secretary and she wears that to a wedding. i want to turn to that exhibition game. we all heard about ted williams, you take that to another level, tell us that story. >> there is a condition, it's a phenomenon when someone has the ability to see more colors than the average person. we know he had perfect eyesight but noise that he had perfect hand eye coordination, super disciplined, and he truly had a command of all of the senses. so of course as a pilot, especially a marine combat pilot, but going back i thought perhaps he could see more colors
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than most people. i'm not an optometrist, it is more common in women, but it does happen in men. i see 100 chors, he might see 150. what does that mean for dimension and speed. there was rumors that he could see a baseball spinning with the seams as it came at him. think about it the red seams of a baseball? i don't know. it is just a theory that i came up with, but again looking at his medical records through free-flight school he was in fabulous share, he had perfect eyesight. >> it started with a tie. >> yeah, there was a game they played called what color is the man's necktie. i heard from from the son of the head baseball coach. he was also a big game hunter.
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they would take him in an airplane above the small airport in chapel hill and someone would step out of the hanger wearing a necktie, and they said almost every time he could judge the color of the necktie and he is 2,000 feet up, but that tells you something. there is something there. >> do you buy it, bill? >> i don't know about that. >> so take us, quickly, i guess, july 28th, yankee stadium. the cloud buster nine against who? >> babe ruth was brought in to manage the team and they said you can put together your dream roster.
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at the time has we commented the navy didn't want to portray ted williams as out there having a good time. the navy pilots are coming but ted will not be there.+gew he made it to the game, and it was just one of those special days from what i understand the players and the press bought a ticket because they were trying to raise money for war relief. people could come, but i look back at this as a great all-american moment where kids, players all came and everyone was happy to be alive and they had a brass band there.
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and they really, a full major league roster playing for the navy pilots, but you have to hear the story to get to the final moment. >> you know, what is stunning to me is that there is a iconic picture of ted and babysitting and talking with each other. i believe it was taken at that yankee stadium game. but for me what was study is within five years babe ruth was dead. he died so young. gavin, i know when you have an expanse let us know if we need to wrap up on.
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how are we doing. . >> i want to turn to a story that is often over looked. it is earl johnson that wound up engages in 199 consecutive days, i believe that in your book, right? of combat? he went over and he landed on omaha beach in normandy. >> so he was a pitcher for the red sox in the early 40s. he had some success early in is career. he threw over 170 pitches and he was never the same. he enlisted in the army and he was part of the 150th infantry. he fought for 199 straight days and that included the battle of
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the bulge. he fought and received promotions twice. he received a bronze star and a silver star. just a real hero. he comes back and it is never the same. but interestingly fighting in war puts everything in order. he can't help himself. every time he comes out of the bull pen he is gibling. he said after what i saw, baseball is just supposed to be fun. >> yeah. >> i read a brief biography of him and he was a rival platoon sergeant of the 36 men in the
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platoon. only 11 of them survived the war. >> you know, bill, i thought you were going to tell the story that you used to like to tell about himself in taking out that tank unit. didn't he make some comment about how his aim with grenades was a little less up to the task? >> you know, i mentioned, i think i mentioned briefly warren spawn. he ended up, of course winning 363 games and going to the hall of fame after pitching here, he informs a combat engineer
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serving in germany at the end of the year. and my aunt lived, and i have been to that site and it was the only bridge that the 9th army could cross and make it's final advance on ber min. theylied to tell about it, but there was a number of guys, i think you touched on it, who they did come back suffering from the effects of having served in combat. who are some of the other red sox players that we should know about while we're here? >> all three back boys and clubhouse boys were wounded in war. sean o collins was killed in
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war. and they returned, they recovered, and he reenlisted and died when a parachute gave way when he was trying to land. he came back from southeast asia and he shrunk an inch. it went from bat boys to super stars, but talking about that generation, doing whatever was necessary for this country. >> you know of course the war ends. and the joyous occasion of owning day in 1946, i suggest you include those in your final
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thoughts. i wonder if we can draw any parallels between the role that baseball played and the role that baseball is playing now in this pandemic? >> i don't know, it is hard to get a sense of what following baseball has right now. it was a huge asterisk before it event started. where as that, all of that, did not pertain in world war ii. one fact that i thought was very impressive, they suffered, but with ted williams having a difficult year, but he had and
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he came back and he had 200 fits. ted came back and had a great year. and they had another tripledown year -- triple crown in 1947. both of these guys did good before and after the war. >> describe for us, if you would, opening day in '46. the red sox opened on the road, ted was sick as a dog, what happened? >> ted has a respiratory deficiency. managers and players tell him not to play. he tells them he is playing. this was the coming out party for the united states. baseball came to the parks to celebrate. this game, harry truman threw
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out the first pitch, after that game was the first mentionted w being the great est player. they show all of the wheelchairs, all of the wounded veterans sitting in the front row of that game and it was really symbolic of those times. heros on the bail field, heros on the theater of war, and everyone coming together to sacrifice this great country. >> as part of your research you have been ber viewing the last of the sir sigh vors, whats that that been like. >> >> it has been very rewarding and bill has been enormous this effort b, but i interviewed him
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very early when covid broke out. they're fearless, they're exactly like these guys that weir describing. they see the other side of this because they will say i knee people who died. i remember polio. but i asked and i said will you worried. and he said no, we're going to get through this. but it is a joy. i come away from this and if there is anything we can do it is spread joy with this. i know you have some comments from guys that you interviewed. >> and i thank ann for introducing this subject. one of the people that she mentioned to me was al naples
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who is from massachusetts. he played in the major leagues later on. but there is a famous time when babe ruth also came to fenway park for an exhibition came and there was some soldiers that came in and he was one of them. as it happens, he hit the winning hit. and he -- it was off of the left-field wall. he said it could have been a double, but he didn't realize it at the time. he didn't round first base fast enough. he pulled up at first. in retro spespect he is so glad did. babe ruth put his arm around him and said way to go, kid. and he told me that story just last year. it was like he was a kid again. who would not be excited by babe ruth. congratulating you. they had to play the bottom of
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the 9th -- >> they're amazing people, but they will say sure, i know babe ruth. it is just great. >> those are wonderful stories. panelists, if you will indulge me and stick around a little bit, we have questions to queue you up with this. audience we will read as many of them as we can. so one question that came in ses that player who is are not major league talent were elevated to the teams during the war. how did this dilution of talent impact the red sox. >> bill, you want a shot at that one? >> it was tough years. they had to make due.
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but they had to make due with players that were not the prime talents. we did a book called "who is on first. and we look at the people that had come in as fill ins. so a lot of them had pretty interesting stories, too. some of our fans say you could do a sequel to that. speaking of bobby, he was one of the last regulars to go into the service. as you write, he was ticked off at him. there was two weeks left in the season. they had a shot at winning the pennant. >> bobby dole was an mvp candidate. the red sox were desperate to
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win a pennant. he decided it would be his last game and there was four games out. his last at bat, the entire crowd serenaded him with the song "until we meet again." he again." his daughter goes to oregon to put all his items in order, but during that time, they end up losing. he looks to trade him but lets his anger subside and keeps him for the next season. >> the door opened up for african-americans to play who otherwise wouldn't have a chance. >> it was the professional girls baseball league that the rocky beaches and kenosha comments had
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a very successful run for a few years there. but sexism and the return of all the veterans who had served in world war ii, and it was men's baseball that took over again. we had a woman from the boston area, mary pratt, who just died within the last year or two, but she would have been in that league. >> gavin, the questioner actually raises an interesting point. you would have thought given the shortage of available talent at that time that maybe major league baseball would have tapped into the negro leagues. it was in 1945 under pressure from a boston city counselor that the red sox finally consented to giving a tryout to jackie robinson, sam jethro and -- who was williams? >> marvin williams. >> marvin williams, yeah. the three players.
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jackie had a great day, marvin had a great day, but essentially they said, don't call us, we'll call you, and a year later jackie makes his debut for the montreal orioles and breaks the color line. bill beck, who was in st. louis at the time, gave some consideration to signing african-american players, but it did not happen, and, of course, jim crow reared its ugly head well into the '60s. >> we also had a question, were there blackout rules for night games along the coast? this is sort of an interesting question. the red sox are not that far from boston harbor. >> we had no lights at fenway park at that time. they only came post-war. >> 1947.
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>> but i believe there were blackout rules on the east coast. >> you mean on the west coast, bill? >> i meant east coast. >> oh, because there were no major league teams on the west coast. >> yeah, yeah. >> there is that. >> there were submarines that came rather close to the coast of the united states, the east coast. >> michael, what did you want to add? >> interestingly, during the war when fans would show up the same as before the first pitch was thrown, there would be an announcement made about how to evacuate a stadium. yankee stadium had arrows pointed to hoses and buckets of sand, and the players were instructed, while the fans vac waited, they were to continue to play and to be soldiers during an air raid on their stadium. so they were ready for anything. >> right. the 1943 yanklands gamey rif i
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referred to earlier, there is an evacuation plan on the back of that program. >> don dimaggio spent three years in the navy and injured his eye. why have they not put him in cooperstown where he belongs? >> certainly one of the greatest advocates for don's inclusion into the hall of fame was ted. ted often lobbied for dominic. but i think -- you know, certainly a number of players lost prime years of their career. i loved dominic dimaggio as a player. i think in any kind of objective analysis of his career numbers, he probably -- he probably belongs in the hall of very good
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rather than the hall of fame. do any panelists agree or disagree? >> i agree with that. it's also not boston writers that determine this, it's the national organization of baseball writers that determine who goes in the hall of fame. >> so we have a simple question. who won the game between babe ruth's all-star team and the navy pilots. >> that's aanne, that's all you. >> pilots. i'm not going to tell you the score, but the pilots. >> you're not going to tell us the score, but give us a highlight moment in the game. >> oh, gosh. well -- oh, i know that at the very beginning they said there were 100 photographers and reporters there at the very beginning, and then when ted williams came out of the chute,
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because people really weren't sure if, in fact, efhe was goin to be there, they all cheered. that was just one of those moments. it's just a great story. but i will tell you that that was his dream to become a manager, and he was just thrilled to be there. more details in the book. >> so, eric, a question, during the second world war, did anyone look back at the first world war when in 1918 the draft was extended to 45-year-old men? and they also commented although the baseball season was shortened, they went on to a world series here in boston. so i guess they were curious about the draft being extended to 45-year-old men and if there was a reflection on that in the second world war. >> the baseball season did end, i believe, on september 1st and 2nd. the world series was consumed on september 11. i guess there was a possibility
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that if the armistice had not been signed in 1918, the 1919 season could well have been jeopardized. as far as extending the age, that i can't address. that's beyond my pay grade. >> okay. and i think we have time for probably one last question, and then if you guys have any concluding comments. one person wrote, can you comment on what might have been an adjustment period for players returning from the war? any documentation of play errors having a hard time getting back into the game? you did touch on that a little bit, and this was prior to the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, but certainly people understood there were adjustments that needed to happen for people. do you have comments on this? >> well, one thing i would interject, i think, is the fact that, you know, certainly baseball and society in general, professional sports, did not pay
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the same kind of attention to mental health issues that we do in contemporary america. and i'm sure, and perhaps, michael, you can even cite a notable incidence or two where players did -- well, even the story of earl johnson giggling is a bit of a behavioral aberration in the context of what guys were dealing with when they came back home. >> well, if you think about harry walker who knocked in enus slaughter and gained seven, harry walker had been wounded. he was protecting a bridge and killed 20 germans. his son was hit by a car right before game 7 and would end up dying. so think about him stepping in the batter's box of game 7 and what he had been through over the last 12 to 18 months, and then for baseball to end and for
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him to go home, bury his son, try to filter and process what had gone on in his life the last four years. i don't know how you would even exist and process such information. >> one comment i'll make just based on the major league players who served in world war ii, they say we just did not talk about the war. that's all i can tell you. >> well, i didn't know if you guys had any concluding comments you would like to make? >> well, i won't sign off before i thank this tremendous panel. you guys were absolutely great. thank you for your insights, thank you for your stories, thank you for your enthusiasm to share those stories. we're lucky to have you. i trust that the audience appreciated this presentation, and, gavin, you know what a big fan i am of the historical society, you, peter, sara,
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katherine, you always treat us so well. thank you so much. >> i would like to acknowledge one thing. there was at least one player that came through world war ii, did not see combat, and in a sense wondered if he was up to the task. and when ted williams was recalled by the marine corps at the time of the korean war, he said, i'm not doing any pr work. if you're calling me back, i want to get into a fighter platoon. and he ended up flying 39 combat missions, seven of them with john glenn who was one of the squadron mates there, and he crash-landed on his second mission february 16, 1953. the wheels wouldn't come down. he had to skid the plane along the runway to -- and jump out just before it burst into flame.
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he was hit by bullets at least two other times. he definitely had his day as a true hero. >> thank you all very much. katherine, i don't know if you wanted to say a parting message? >> i have to say that i learned more about sports in the past hour than i have in all of my years, so thank you so much. and thank you to everybody out there. thank you to our supporters and thank you to the people who are going to become our supporters. you're watching american history tv every weekend on c-span3. explore our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3 created by america's cable television companies and today were brought to you by these television companies who provide american history tv to viewers as a public service. weeknights this month, we're
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eastern on american history tv on c-span3, go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution, civil rights and u.s. presidents to 9/11. >> thanks for your patience and for logging into class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to communicate with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union. but reagan met him halfway, reagan encouraged him, reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press, which we'll get to later, i should just mention madison called it freedom of the use of the press, and it is indeed freedom to print things and publish things. it is not a freedom for what we now refer to institutionally as the press. >> legends of american history on c-span3 every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. they are also available on
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