1945 Brooklyn Dodgers vs Cherry Point Flyers Scorecard
Exhibition games were exceedingly more common in baseball’s history than they are today. Due to restrictions enacted by free agency and collective bargaining, a game played between a major league organization and a military team would never happen with today’s players. Considering the lengthy spring training season, a 162-game regular season and two (technically three with the extra play-in game between the two wild card winners in each league), the wear and tear placed upon a body (especially a pitching arm) can be disastrous for a player and the team with their multi-million-dollar investments filling roster spots. However, in the pre-free agent era of the game, exhibition games were quite the norm, especially during World War II.
Commencing in 1942, professional baseball (both within the majors and minor leagues) considerable efforts were made to begin raising funds in order to equip service members with the tools of the game (balls, gloves, bats, protective gear for catchers and umpires, bases, etc.) to facilitate both training and recreation (serving as a much needed break from the rigors of training, combat and to break the tedium between). This program and scorecard from a game played at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (North Carolina) or, as it was named when the base was developed in 1941, Cunningham Field, between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Marine team from the base. In addition to raising money for equipment, these games (especially those played between professional squads and military teams) were morale-boosters and raised money for the various service branch relief funds.
This program, printed in two-color (blue/red) for the front and back cover and black for the inside utilizes the low-quality paper as is seen with other military scorecards of the time. The artwork is somewhat rudimentary and clearly designed by hand but still has visual appeal. The back cover contains the typical (humorous) sentiments that most players and fans feel towards the game’s officiating sooner or later.
The Dodgers roster would dramatically change from what is seen here with the 1945 squad over the next two years as the veterans returned home to resume their professional careers.
Like all other major league organizations, the Dodgers roster was filled with players either well past their prime or their talents were barely suitable for A-league play. With so many of the hundreds of minor league teams either folding or suspending operations during the war (due to the exodus of their talent heading off to serve), those who either couldn’t or did not serve were moved up to keep the game going.
The Cherry Point Flyers squad will require research to determine if any of their roster had professional baseball experience.
|1B||William R. Brown||Pfc||25|
|LF||H. C. Raysonds||S/Sgt|
|P||O. B. Clark||Pfc||22|
|Mgr.||Francis M. Reilly||LT|
The interior pages contain historical factoids and a summary of the current team and their long-standing star, Dixie Walker (“the People’s Cherce”).
This program was listed and sold at auction (spring, 2018).