Raising Funds for the War and Baseball Equipment
Aside from supplementing conventional military training and boosting servicemen's morale, baseball served another purpose for American military leaders: as a means to raise funds for both the war effort and to offset the sizable expenses of military athletic programs. By staging exhibition games that included both service and civilian teams and accepting gate receipts from other high-proﬁle professional contests, military ofﬁcials were able to dramatically increase ﬁnancial contributions to the war effort. Also, by the conclusion of the war the majority of professional players were in the service, which enabled every branch of the armed forces to employ professionals uniquely qualiﬁed to help sell war bonds, solicit charitable donations, and recruit new soldiers and sailors. Moreover, Major League baseball teams themselves donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to various war-related organizations and millions of dollars worth of athletic equipment for servicemen around the world.
Immediately after Pearl Harbor, baseball executives began devising scenarios for ways in which the professional game could contribute to the war, even as some were questioning the need for the game's very existence. Owners of professional teams not only wanted to aid the struggle against fascism by elevating Americans' morale; they also sought to prove how ﬁnancially valuable the game could be during the country's hour of need. This ﬁnancial contribution in turn would justify, at least in the eyes of the baseball owners, the continuation of the national pastime during the global crisis. The next questions then be