Third Army – Baseball Championship Series
Perhaps one of the most famous (if not the most famous) of the military baseball games during World War II, was the European Theater of Operations (ETO) World Series in 1945. Following the capitulation of the remainder of the Third Reich’s leadership, the America military brass, recognizing that the need to transform the combat-experienced and fight-minded troops into an occupation force, began a call to assemble and organize a baseball league among the troops remaining throughout the European continent. What resulted was more than 200,000 GIs assembled into teams that would culminate with a champion by the end of the summer. An effort to create ballfields and put together equipment, arrange for officials and scorekeepers in order to schedule and play games as men were beginning to rotate from Europe to the United States or to other active combat zones (in the Pacific Theater).
By the end of summer, a handful of teams were playing in lower level championship series (similar to today’s Division and League Championships of the MLB) as the division and then the higher levels (such as the 7th Army) as the elimination rounds paired the field of top performing teams toward the crowning of an ultimate champion. The Third Army Championship, a best two of three games series, was a playoff round with the victor (the would-be crowned Third Army Champions) facing the OISE All-Stars in the ETO World Series. The Third Army Championships pitted the 76th Infantry Division Onaways (who had recently defeated the Seventh Army Champions, the 29th Infantry Division Blue and Grays) against the Red Circlers of the 71st Infantry Division.
This scorebook is the only one that this collector has seen in nearly a decade of searching for military baseball ephemera. It is a single-page, with the cover and art on the front fold and the Third Army’s schedule of events and activities printed on the back fold. On the inside folds, the rosters and scorecards for each squad are printed, rotated 90-degrees, counter-clockwise and stacked vertically. The paper stock (a single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet), is a considerable upgrade from that of the other military scorecards and scorebooks listed in the Chevrons and Diamonds digital library.
Each team’s roster possesses players with a level of professional baseball experience or expertise that far surpasses that of a common soldier.
76th Infantry Division Onaways:
This roster featured thirteen players who possessed professional league talent (including Cecil Travis, a pre-war infielder for the Washington Senators who was three-time MLB All-Star that many believed was well on his way to Hall of Fame candidacy before he left for the war)and played on minor or major league teams either before or/and after the war. Those with former major league experience are listed in bold.
|Last (listed on roster)||Full Name||Position|
|Bundrick (Bundirck)||Bundrick (Bundirck)||IF|
|Certosimo||Matthew E. Certosimo||OF|
|Cinquemani||Charles A. Cinquemani||Trainer|
|Krebs||Warren A. “Lefty” Krebs||OF|
|Rowell||Carvel “Bama” Rowell||OF/Manager|
71st Infantry Division Red Circlers
This roster featured fifteen players who possessed professional league talent and played on minor or major league teams either before or/and after the war.
|Powell||Larry “Lefty” Powell||P|
|Van Robays||Maurice Van Robays||OF|
Umpires listed: Doyle, Hurley, McKinley
71st Wins 3rd Army Ball Crown
By Ed Brown, Staff Writer
Nurnberg, August 13, 1945 – Ewell Blackwell, ex-Cincinnati Red, shut out the 76th Infantry Division today, 5-0, before more than 25,000 GIs at Soldiers Field to win the 3rd Army Championship for the 71st Infantry Division. It was Blackwell’s second start in the five-game series, in the shutout. In Saturday’s play he turned a beautiful no-hit, no-run performance, but the 76th reached him for two hits today.
Blackwell’s teammates supported him wholeheartedly in some fast and sure fielding, and showed the spectators good batting all afternoon.
Now that the 71st has annexed the 3rd Army crown they will travel to Mannheim, Germany, to play the 7th Army champs Sunday afternoon to determine the Southern Germany baseball champs. Winners of that game will meet winners of other sectional matches for the theater championships in September.
The 71st got off to a good start when Bob Ramazotti, the seasoned little shortstop who formerly played for the Durham Bulls in the Piedmont League led off with a mighty clout that sent the ball over the left field fence. It was the only homer in the series.
In the seventh he singled with another beautiful drive to left field and pitcher Bob Samells of the 76th walked the next man at bat, Harry Walker. The ex-Detroit Tiger Anse Moore slugged the ball deep into right field, scoring Ramazotti and advancing Walker to third. Johnny Wyrostek, the former Pittsburgh Pirate, came to bat and hit a hard grounder to the infield recovered by the first baseman and tossed to second to put out Moore. Wyrostek was safe on the play and Walker crossed the plate.
Lawing Smacks Double
Garland Lawing, who once slugged for Birmingham in the Southern Association, drove deep into left field for a double and took third on the toss to the plate which came too late to catch Wyrostek. The side was retired when ex-St. Louis Card Herb Bremer grounded to second and reached first too late.
Wyrostek crossed the plate again in the ninth when he was driven in by a left field fly by Bremer.
Carvel “Bama” Rowell, formerly with the Boston Braves, got the first hit for the 76th team from Blackwell in the seventh. Rowell sent out a fast leaguer to short, but the toss to first was slow and he made it with a foot to spare. In the last half of the ninth Bill Mayer, ex-Pocamoke (MD) player, got the only other hit off Blackwell when he drove a grounder to short left for a single. In the next play, however, Clarence Maddern grounded to the pitcher who made it a double play to wind up the series.
– Transcribed from an un-sourced 1945 newspaper clipping
- Authenticating a Military Championship Baseball
- European Theater Baseball (the 29th Infantry Division Blue and Grays at Nurnberg)