A Passion for the Troops: Joe E. Brown’s All Pacific Recreation Fund
Posted by VetCollector
It is rather odd and perhaps, a little bit disjointed to author a piece that is technically a precursor or an actual “part I” of a two-part story after researching, writing and publishing the succeeding or part II. few weeks ago, we delved into one of the rarer wartime service-team baseball game programs that one can collect: a substantial scorebook from the 1944 All Recreation Fund game that pitted the Service All-Stars versus both the Pacific Coast League’s (PCL) Los Angeles Angels and the Hollywood Stars (see: Service All-Stars Raising Funds on the Diamond for their Comrades in the Trenches).
“Hopefully, we can source the 1943 All Pacific Recreation Fund program to round out the collection and to properly document the games and the participants.”
Just days following our article regarding the 1944 program published, the 1943 program and scorebook arrived to our door sending this author over the top with elation. Now, two of our most sought-after programs from domestic service team baseball programs moved off of our want list.
While the roster for the 1944 Service All Stars feature featured some well-known names from the professional ranks, garnering modest attention from the press, the caliber of talent that took the field in the inaugural charity baseball game in 1943 was quite exceptional. Featuring three future Cooperstown enshrinees, the Service All Stars posed a considerable challenge for the PCL hosts, at least on paper.
1943 All Pacific Recreation Fund Game – Service All-Stars:
|Name||Pos||Command Location||Club Affiliation|
|Rinaldo Ardizoia||P||Army Air Forces, McClellan Field, Sacramento, California||New York Yankees|
|Harry Danning||C||6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California||New York Giants|
|Joseph DiMaggio||OF||Army Air Forces, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, California||New York Yankees|
|Bud Doleshall||P||U.S. Army, Ft. MacArthur, San Pedro, California||Sacramento Senators|
|A. R. Edwards||C||Army Ordnance, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, California||St. Louis Browns|
|Aubrey Epps||C||U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, California||Knoxville Smokies|
|Froilan “Nanny” Fernandez||IF||6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California||Boston Braves|
|Stanley Goletz||P||Army Air Force, Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona||Chicago White Sox|
|Hal Hirshon||OF||U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, California||Detroit Tigers|
|Myril Hoag||OF||Army Air Forces, Mather Field, Sacramento, California||Chicago White Sox|
|Walter Judnich||OF||Army Air Forces, McClellan Field, Sacramento, California||St. Louis Browns|
|Hubert Kittle||P||6th Ferrying Group, Sacramento, California||Oakland Oaks|
|Art Lilly||IF||6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California||Hollywood Stars|
|Dario Lodigiani||IF||Army Air Forces, McClellan Field, Sacramento, California||Chicago White Sox|
|Theo “Ted” Lyons||P||U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, camp Pendleton, California||Chicago White Sox|
|Joseph Marty||OF||Army Air Force, Hamilton Field, Novato, Novato, California||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Myron McCormick||OF||Army Air Forces, McClellan Field, Sacramento, California||Cincinnati Reds|
|John Pesky||IF||U.S. Navy, Atlanta Naval Air Station, Atlanta, Georgia||Boston Red Sox|
|Jack Price||IF||Army Ordnance, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, California||Nashville Vols|
|Charles “Red” Ruffing||P||6th Ferrying Group, Sacramento, California||New York Yankees|
|Charles “Chuck” Stevens||IF||6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California||St. Louis Browns|
|Louis Stringer||IF||Army Air Force, Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona||Chicago Cubs|
|Max West||OF||6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California||Boston Braves|
As was seen in the following year’s game, the 1943 event drew a capacity crowd to witness the type of charity game that had become somewhat of a commonplace occurrence around the country with games staged between professional and military teams. This particular event was directly responsible for purchasing more than $25,000 in sporting equipment that was shipped throughout the Pacific combat theater to Army and Navy personnel. Inspired by his early USO-like tours to both entertain and encourage the troops during his early-WWII travels to the South Pacific, comedian Joe E. Brown was following through on his promise to the men he visited. The All Pacific Recreation fund was established and the Service All-Stars game versus the Los Angeles Angels and Hollywood Stars was his flagship event.
With a capacity of less than 13,000 fans, Gilmore Field’s turnstiles clicked a total of 21,742 times for the 1943 game with not a single pass being given (not even to the press). Leading off on defense for the top-half of the first inning, the Los Angeles Angels took the field as the 6th Ferrying Group’s first baseman, Chuck Stevens (who went two-for-three) leading off with a triple. Stevens, a local native (from Long Beach) who had previously played in the St. Louis Brown’s organization. In the previous year, Stevens played for the Toledo Mud Hens who took down Mickey Cochrane’s Great Lakes Bluejackets, a veritable team of professional all-stars serving in the U.S. Navy. Nanny Fernandez (0-for 3) followed Stevens in the order with Wally Judnich (Stevens’ 1941 Browns teammate) batting third (also hitless in the game). Batting cleanup was former Pacific Coast Leaguer (and New York Yankee), Joe DiMaggio who accounted for much of the Service All-Star’s offensive power (4-for-4 with two home runs).
The Service All-Stars collected a total of 13 hits and racked up eight runs while only allowing the Angles and Hollywood to manage six hits (including the two solo home runs by Hollywood’s Babe Herman and Los Angeles’ Rip Russell) to the Coast League team’s two runs.
Similar to the 1944 game program, the 1943 issue is more book-like than what was common during the 1940s. The half-magazine sized booklet is constructed of a high-quality, heavy paper stock with a semi-gloss finish. The cover art (used for both the ’43 and ’44 games) is two-color-printed (red and blue) with the interior pages all monochromatic blue.
Aside from the plethora of sponsors pages and advertisements, the content throughout the book is superior to that of any other program (that we have seen) from service team baseball during World War II. The rosters and team photos are clear and the players depicted are easily discernible (including with the Los Angeles and Hollywood team photos). The team rosters are very complete (despite some obvious errors – Navy Ensign Johnny Pesky is listed as serving in the U.S. Army) offering great details about the service players’ 1943 duty stations.
In addition to completing the All Pacific Recreation Fund game program collection, what makes the 1943 program even more special is that this copy came from the estate of one of the players who factored considerably in the game. Though it isn’t the first piece to arrive into the Chevrons and Diamonds collection from the life-long baseball man, Chuck Stevens, it is certainly one of the most cherished pieces (there will be upcoming articles regarding the Chuck Stevens pieces of which we are honored to now be caretakers of).
Our time has been considerably consumed by several activities (in addition to family and work priorities) and there are several future articles forthcoming surrounding additional service team scorecards as well as a considerable effort to update the Library of Military Baseball Scorecards, Score-books and Game Programs with these two All Pacific Recreation All Stars game programs along with an incredible array of Great Lakes items (stay tuned!).
About VetCollectorI have been blogging about Militaria since 2010 when I was hired to write for the A&E/History Channel-funded Collectors Quest (CQ) site. It was strange for me to have been asked as I was not, by any means, an expert on militaria nor had I ever written on a recurring basis beyond my scholastic newspaper experience (many MANY decades ago). After nearly two years, CQ was shut down and I discovered that I was enjoying the work and I had learned a lot about my subject matter over that period of time. I served for a decade in the U.S. Navy and descend from a long line of veterans who helped to forge this nation from its infancy all the way through all of the major conflicts to present day and have done so in every branch of the armed forces (except the USMC). I began to take an interest in militaria when I inherited uniforms, uniform items, decorations from my relatives. I also inherited some militaria of the vanquished of WWII that my relatives brought home, furthering my interest. Before my love of militaria, I was interested in baseball history. Beyond vintage baseball cards (early 1970s and back) and some assorted game-used items and autographs, I had a nominal collecting focus until I connected my militaria collecting with baseball. Since then, I have been selectively growing in each area and these two blogs are the result, Chevrons and Diamonds (https://chevronsanddiamonds.wordpress.com/) The Veterans Collection (https://veteranscollection.org/)
Posted on October 17, 2019, in Ephemera and Other Items, Individual/Personal History, Players and Personalities, Programs, Score Books, Scorecards, WWII and tagged 6th Ferrying Group, All Pacific Recreation Fund, Chuck Stevens, Joe DiMaggio, Joe E. Brown, Johnny Pesky, Red Ruffing, Service Team Baseball, Service Team Baseball Southern California, Ted Lyons, WWII Service Teams. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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