1930 Battlefleet Group Tournament: USS Maryland vs USS California
This program is a departure from the other pieces cataloged in the Library of Military Baseball Scorecards, Score-books and Game Programs in that it is lacking a scorecard, rosters or any means of following and capturing what was happening on the diamond. Despite what is not presented on the pages, what is listed provides insight into the competitive spirit and the esprit de corps that existed and was fostered between navy units, especially sea-going commands. Naval gunnery accuracy and efficiency contests, whale boat races and other seamanship competitions were part of the normal team-building activities of battleships, cruisers and destroyers in the interwar period (between WWI and WWII). Motivating and incentivizing shipboard training by allowing a gun or boat crew to claim bragging rights and proudly display gaudy trophies that were passed annually from victor to victor helped officers to create a sense of ownership among their crew.
Even since prior to the Spanish American War, baseball has been an integral component of competition between ships. This program shines a light upon an elimination tournament held in Guantanamo Bay in 1930 between ballclubs from two battleships. the USS Maryland (BB-46) and USS California (BB-44).
This programs is a single sheet of paper with a fold at the center of the long end. The full dimensions of the sheet are roughly ten-by-seven inches. The content is clearly favoring the USS Maryland which seems to indicate that it was produced for the crew of that ship. It is possible however, that this is a page from a more complete program that included the same information for both the Maryland and the California. Since the game was part of an elimination tournament held at the naval base in Cuba, the misprinted “On Wisconsin” title could indicate the nature of the repeated production process of the programs. These are merely guesses that could be proven or dispelled should similar pieces surface in the future.
This scorecard was listed at auction (online) in 2018.