” We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” John F Kennedy

Hey folks….I apologize for being absent the past few days. I am working feverishly towards the deadline for my new book scheduled for release in February. It is called simply Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota! But more on that later. I have decided that I will repost some of my own particular favorites and I hope you enjoy them. Being that we are between our two political conventions as we move towards choosing our next Commander in Chief, I thought this would be an apporpriate place to start. Thanks for your patience…..

From December 7th!

It was 70 years ago today……………………….

In 1918, when the USA was fighting the “war to end all wars” or if you prefer, the Great War, the widely held feeling was that baseball should shut down. It was trivial, it was frivolous. The 1918 season was brought to an end a month early and baseball’s immediate future was in doubt. It was all rendered moot when the war ended two months later.

When America entered World War II, the same question was raised and by none other than baseball’s Commissioner, Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis. However, by that time baseball had woven its way into the fabric of America. President Roosevelt, recognizing that, wrote to Landis, “if 300 teams use 5000-6000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to 20,000,000 of their fellow citizens— and that, in my judgement, is very worthwhile.”  This did not mean however, that professional baseball, at all levels, did not feel the effects. At the minor league level alone, there were 44 leagues in 1940 and 12 by the end of 1942.

Through enlistment or the draft countless players answered the call, as star and bench jockey alike were willing to bear any burden.  Minor leaguers were willing to meet any hardship and for many of them it meant their chance at the major leagues was gone forever. And then there were those, at every level of baseball, who “gave the last full measure of devotion”…..”to assure the survival and success of liberty”.

                http://www.baseballinwartime.com/in_memoriam/in_memoriam.htm

No less than 30 members of the Boston Red Sox organization served in World War II. “The Teammates” (Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio) are immortalized in bronze on the streets outside Fenway Park.

Each of them served and each of them have become Red Sox legends. However, I dare say, most Red Sox fans have forgotten or never heard of Earl Johnson.

Earl “Lefty” Johnson was a 21-year-old pitcher who showed much promise in 1940, winning six of eight decisions. He alternated between the bullpen and the rotation in 1941 and like so many, was gone for 42, 43, 44 and 45. Returning to the Red Sox in 1946, he went 5-4 and was the winning pitcher in game one of the 1946 World Series throwing two innings of no hit relief in the Red Sox come from behind 10 inning victory at Sportsmans Park in St. Louis.

Drafted into the Army in January of 1942, Johnson served with the 30th Infantry Division. Landing on Normandy Beach, on D-Day plus five in 1944, they spearheaded the St Lo breakthrough. In September of 1944, Johnson was awarded the Bronze Star for keeping vital information from falling into enemy hands. Braving “severe hostile fire” to do so Johnson also received a battlefield promotion to 2nd lieutenant. Three months later fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, he received the Silver Star for bravery and another promotion, to 1st lieutenant.

Johnson pitched seven seasons with the Red Sox going 40-32. His promise as a pitcher was never quite fulfilled as his career was shortened by the four years of service which he gave to his country. He remained working in the Red Sox organization for 44 years and he passed away in 1994.

So today let’s pause; pause and remember. Remember all those who answered the call then, who answered the call before them, who have answered the call since  and who answer the call now. And the next time you’re at the grocery store and you see a rickety old man a bit unsteady on his feet; he may be wearing a cap which identifies him as a World War II vet, pause and remember, extend a hand and say thanks!

           And so it was on this date in Fenway Park history, December 7, 1941 

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About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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