Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948

By Dean A. Sullivan | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Baseball in Wartime and Peacetime

World War II affected baseball deeply. Many players and fans were drafted into service overseas, and others worked in defense plants. Concern for the postwar economy inspired Spokane, Washington businessmen to plan production of many different aluminum products, including baseball bats.

Racial prejudice was still rampant in factories, on the battlefield, and on the ballfield. Tensions exploded in Detroit in 1943, resulting in thirty-four deaths and hundreds of casualties. It took the threat of two separate marches on Washington by black labor leader A. Philip Randolph to force Presidents Roosevelt and Truman (in 1941 and 1948, respectively) to initiate the integration of the armed forces, but baseball owners still could not be persuaded to break their own color line. The return of veterans generated both enthusiasm, as in the case of Hank Greenberg, and bitterness over contractual inequities which led to the formation of yet another players' union. While the long-overdue integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson was clearly the most significant moment in baseball during the 1940s, marking a new era for the sport, the previous era effectively ended with the death of Babe Ruth, in 1948.

87 FDR Gives Green Light to Wartime Baseball (1942)

SOURCE: Washington Post, January 17, 1942

In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entry into
World War II, baseball owners in the major and minor leagues were concerned about
Washington's stance regarding the continuance of professional baseball. They remem-
bered the effect that the 1918 “work or fight” order had on baseball. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt responded to a query from Commissioner Landis with a letter, known as the
“green light” letter, written on January 15. The unofficial letter made clear that while


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 238

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?