BY THE FALL OF 1941—with the United States providing everincreasing aid to Great Britain and the Soviet Union under the LendLease program, cooperating in the British antisubmarine campaign in the North Atlantic, and stymied in its efforts to pressure Japan into withdrawing from China—most Americans, ballplayers included, seemed resigned to their country's full-scale involvement in the war. The Cardinals' Enos Slaughter, Ernie White, and Johnny Hopp, together with the Browns' Joe Grace, took off-season jobs at a small-arms factory in St. Louis; the Athletics' Sam Chapman and Benny McCoy joined the U.S. Navy; and Washington's Buddy Lewis volunteered for the Army Air Corps. At the beginning of December, Sergeant Hank Greenberg was discharged from army duty but placed in the active reserves, subject to immediate recall. Nearly three hundred minor leaguers were now in the armed forces, according to National Association president Bramham.
Yet in other respects, the affairs of baseball proceeded pretty much as usual. On October 3 Bobby Feller, pitching for an ensemble called Mike Gonzalez's All-Stars, kicked off a barnstorming tour with Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Monarchs at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, where about 10,000 watched them work five innings apiece. With the All-Stars ahead 4-1, Feller and Paige gave way to Pittsburgh's Ken Heintzelman and the Monarchs' Hilton Smith, who kept the score unchanged. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Ted Williams played for Joe Pirrone's All-Stars against Buck Leonard and other Negro leaguers, who again appeared as Tom Wilson's Royal Giants.