FDR kept baseball alive during the war


The attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II. Soon after, rationing was a way of life and Americans had to learn to live with less of everything that made up their daily lives.

Although America’s game took a back seat during the conflict, it did not go away. Expressing the need to keep the game going, American President of the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), wrote what became known as the “Green Letter.”

The letter was in response to Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Landis’ question of whether to suspend baseball for the duration of the war.

Roosevelt declared, “I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed, and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever. And that means that they need to have a chance for recreation and to take their minds off their work more so than before.”

The president loved baseball; as a player he was shallow in skill, but lacked no enthusiasm for the game. In fact, as a youth, he was so bad that he played on a team called the “Bum Base Ball Boys.” There were certainly no red and white fluttering banners welcoming this team.

His dream of being on the diamond continued while at Harvard, but there was no entourage following his play on the field as he was delegated to fetching, “this and that,” as the team’s manager.
Valley Ball Loop…

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