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The Pastime in Turbulence: Interviews With Baseball Players of the 1940s

by Brent P. Kelley

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The 1940s were years of change in the world of baseball. Minor league free agents were introduced to the game in 1940 by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis; Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and player after player left to join the war effort with players both below and well above draft age completing the rosters; 1946 marked the first time that two National League teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers, were tied for first place, forcing a best two-out-of three series; 1947 brought racial integration, with Jackie Robinson taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers; and the American League saw its own tie for first place in 1948 between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, which was played out in a one-game playoff. This work focuses on 27 players of the 1940s, guys--like Gene Thompson, Elmer Valo, Damon Phillips, Joe Cleary, and Cliff Chambers--who witnessed these changes and firsts personally. The players interviewed for this work had different experiences in the major leagues--some experienced long careers and benefited from the changes while others did not--and they come from diverse backgrounds as well.… (more)
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The 1940s were years of change in the world of baseball. Minor league free agents were introduced to the game in 1940 by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis; Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 and player after player left to join the war effort with players both below and well above draft age completing the rosters; 1946 marked the first time that two National League teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers, were tied for first place, forcing a best two-out-of three series; 1947 brought racial integration, with Jackie Robinson taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers; and the American League saw its own tie for first place in 1948 between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, which was played out in a one-game playoff. This work focuses on 27 players of the 1940s, guys--like Gene Thompson, Elmer Valo, Damon Phillips, Joe Cleary, and Cliff Chambers--who witnessed these changes and firsts personally. The players interviewed for this work had different experiences in the major leagues--some experienced long careers and benefited from the changes while others did not--and they come from diverse backgrounds as well.

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McFarland

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