American Battle Monuments Commission
American WWII Orphans Network
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Library of Congress
National Park Service
Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute
Official Website of General George S. Patton
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Baseball Goes to War
Between 1941 and 1945, thirty-six Major League Baseball players left the game in the prime of their careers to serve their nation during World War II.
- Cleveland Indian pitching ace, Bob Feller, enlisted in the US Navy two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and requested a combat position. He was stationed as a gunner on the battleship, USS Alabama, which saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific.
- Detroit’s slugger, Hank Greenberg, who served in uniform prior to the war reenlisted in the US Army after Pearl Harbor.
An 18 year-old Yogi Berra was in the US Navy and saw action on D-Day serving on a rocket launching vessel which capsized off the coast of France.
- Red Sox Home Run power Ted Williams joined the US Marines as a pilot and later flew combat missions during the Korean War.
- Pitcher Warren Spahn of the Boston Braves was in the US Army and was nearly killed in the spring of 1945 when the Remagan Bridge collapsed into the Rhine River.
- Negro Leaguer, Monte Irvin, saw action during the Battle of the Bulge.
- Many others, like Joe DiMaggio and Pee Wee Rees, played baseball in uniform for their respective service teams entertaining troops in both theaters.
The Friends of the National WW II Memorial wishes to express deep gratitude to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York for permitting us to share this part of our mission with you. Friends encourages you to visit the Hall of Fame’s on-line exhibit, “Baseball Enlists” as well as related resources at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center.
You may also download a lesson plan, developed by award-winning educator James Percoco, on the Kennesaw Mountain Landis-FDR Correspondence wartime baseball communication, commonly referred to as “the green light letter.”
Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Friends of the National World War II Memorial’s education programs are generously supported by the Jack C. Taylor / Enterprise Rent-A-Car WWII Memorial Education Endowment.
©2020 Friends of the National World War II Memorial
Friends is grateful to the following Founding Sponsors for their ongoing commitment to preserving the legacy, lessons, and sacrifices of our Greatest Generation.