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!).
Tags: 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
Posted by VetCollector
As I hinted in last week’s article, the influx of artifacts into the collection has been nothing short of overwhelming over the course of the last few months. The three uniforms (yes, there are two others that arrived previously and in addition to the WWII Coast Guard set) have yet to be fully documented and researched but they were on display at our public event last month. Less conspicuously unveiled and shown at the Armed Forces Recognition display were a handful of “new” World War II military baseball scorecards.
Aside from baseball’s fluidity in its continual change from batter-to-batter and inning-to-inning, teams are in a constant state of alteration as managers and general managers work tirelessly to field a roster of players that can match up well against their opponents on any given day. For the casual observer, a team manager merely drafts line-up cards, gives direction to the players and batters throughout the game as he maneuvers his team like chess-master, making substitutions and pitching changes to keep his players best aligned against his opponent. An outstanding manager not only addresses the needs of the present game but how his team will be matched up against his future opponents in the next week and even the next month. Major Leagues (and, to some extent, minor leagues) have been well documented as to the roster changes and game line-ups affording researches with an easy tool to follow a player’s professional career. The same cannot be said about the game within the armed forces.
Roster management must have been a bit of a nightmare for military team managers during WWII as the needs of the military superseded the needs of a base or command team. At any given moment, a player could be transferred away to fill a need without notice to the team manager. Tracking players on these service teams’ rosters is a monumental task. Apart from the occasional box score contained within a base or command newspaper or the Sporting News or other civilian news source, rosters largely no longer exist for wartime baseball teams, leaving present-day researchers to piece them together.
Baseball scorecard collectors are off the mainstream of baseball memorabilia collectors though it seems that more people are discovering these historically affordable pieces of baseball history. A scorecard offers a snapshot in time with that day’s roster alignment for the two opposing teams. If a major or minor league game scorecard lacks a date, a researcher is able to use the rosters to reveal the approximate or even the precise date on which the game was played. Another draw for collectors is the aesthetics and artwork that is commonly present, especially with cards from the Golden Era of the game. Apart from the functional aspect (keeping score) the illustrations and photography that can be found adorning the covers and pages of these pieces can be bright and colorful while offering a window into the past.
With the influx of professional players into the armed forces and onto service team baseball rosters during WWII and the audiences that the teams played to and the overall purpose for many of the games (fund-raising), it became a necessity for organizers to produce and print scorecards for the attendees. In most instances, the venues for service games were relatively small which would limit the production of these pieces further reducing the chances of surviving copies.
When a scorecard dating from June 26, 1944 for a fund-raiser (All-Pacific Recreation Fund) game hosted by the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres pitted against the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) 6th Ferrying Group of the Air Transportation Command (ATC), I was excited at the prospect of gaining some insight into the service leagues of Southern California. To date, I have been limited to piecing together rosters from scant story details in the Sporting News that are merely snippets of game narratives regarding the 6th Ferrying Group or any other team that played in their league, which drove me to pursue the online auction listing for the scorecard. Sadly, I was outbid and lost the auction.
Days later, another (different) 6th Ferrying Group scorecard was listed by the same seller. This version was from a game played between the ATC team and the San Bernardino All Stars and played at Perris Hill Park which was, no doubt, the home field of the All Stars (the ball park still stands and is the home field for the California State University, at San Bernardino baseball team and has been renamed Fiscalini Field). I quickly placed another sniped bid only to lose out a second time. Despite my discouragement, I ended up receiving the scorecard (albeit one in well-loved condition) as part of another item from the seller of the previous two scorecards.
I spent little time carefully removing the card from the package before I opened the the folded single sheet, moving directly to the rosters. Seeing the 6th Ferrying Group’s list of players, I quickly noted the men who had major league experience and began to work through the other names in search of professional ball-playing experience. Prior to owning this scorecard, the only 6th Ferrying Group team members that were discoverable were Chuck Stevens, Nanny Fernandez, Max West, Walter Loos, Harry Danning and Red Ruffing. Ten new names (seven with prior pro experience and one who went on to play professionally after the war). filled out the roster and opened the door to new research.
6th Ferrying Group Roster (major leaguers in bold):
|Art Lilly||2B||Hollywood Stars|
|Chuck Stevens||1B||Stl. Browns|
|Nanny Fernandez||SS||Boston Braves|
|Max West||CF||Boston Braves|
|Harry Danning||CF||NY Giants|
|Ed Nulty||LF||Montreal Royals|
|Swede Jensen||RF||San Diego Padres|
|Red Ruffing||P||NY Yankees|
|Hub Kittle||P||Oakland Oaks|
|Ollie Olsen||P||San Diego padres|
|Roy Pitter||P||Newark Bears|
|Woody Bell||OF||San Antonio Missions|
The 6th Ferrying Group team roster is a goldmine but the discovery isn’t limited to these 16 men. The San Bernardino All Stars is nearly impossible to locate the commands from which the roster was constructed, leaving plenty of opportunity for research. Following a quick baseball search, I was successful in identifying eight of the players on the roster of which two played in the major leagues prior to their wartime service.
San Bernardino All Stars(major leaguers in bold):
|Norman De Weese||LF|
|Art Shoap||1B||LA Angels|
|Ed Chandler||P||Pocatello Cardinals|
|Walter Ripley||P||Boston Red Sox|
|Bill Molyneaux||OF||Louisville Colonels|
|Clyde List||C||Brainerd Blues|
|Bill Sarni||C||LA Angels|
In addition to researching the names on both rosters, pursuing a box score the amount of money that the was raised from the game would be a fitting punctuation to place upon this scorecard discovery.