The Army and Navy Benefit All-Star Game of 1942

Two years after ballplayers were raising money for the Finnish Relief Fund, the U.S. was in the war too. In spring 1942, the New York Times reported that MLB decided to have “each major league club donate the entire receipts of one regularly scheduled game to Army and Navy relief. It also was decided . . . that the winner of the major league all-star game at the Polo Grounds on July 6 would face an all-service squad in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium the following night.”

The Cleveland game did happen, and here’s some of how the New York Times reported on it:

Tanks rumbled over the field, along with jeeps, mobile anti-aircraft and anti-tank, transport and motor cycle equipment in an impressive demonstration of Uncle Sam’s military might. The Great Lakes Naval Training Station and the Fort Hayes bands played martial music. A crack company of the United States Marine Corps from the Navy Pier, Chicago, gave an exhibition of precision drilling. White-clad sailors from the Great Lakes station and the Coast Guard paraded. Cheers swelled to a roar when the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played and Old Glory hoisted aloft on the field staff.

62,094 fans attended the game, raising about $120,000, $100,000 of which went to the Bat and Ball Fund for athletic gear for military trainees, and the rest went to Army and Navy Relief funds. A $1 surcharge for each ticket went to the purchase of war bonds.

The game featured chief boatswain’s mate Bob Feller pitching for the service all-stars and allowing four runs in one+ inning. Other notable service team members were pitcher Mickey Harris and their manager, Mickey Cochrane, but they were really outclassed by the A.L. stars, with DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Lou Boudreau, and other Hall of Famers.

Here’s the box score for the 5-0 game:

You can also read a SABR member’s article recalling attending the game.

Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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