When you think of World War ll you may think strictly of the battle, but there were also forms of entertainment that continued on, such as baseball. During the war baseball wasn’t the most popular sport, but it didn’t take long to grow in popularity. There were many athletes that took part in baseball but roughly 500 major league players had left the playing field to join the military. Many of these men who were famous left their fame and title to sacrifice their lives for America. A player from Philadelphia named Harry O’Neill died during the war along with a young man named Eugene Gedeon who was an athlete from the University of Michigan.
There was a question whether or not the sport of baseball should continue on during the war, but the “Green Light Letter”, written by President Franklin Roosevelt, stated that baseball could continue on during the war. This was established in 1942 on January 15th. This letter gave Americans hope and a way to enjoy themselves throughout the war. Citizens may be constantly worried or stressed about the war and this was something to focus on and keep their minds with happy thoughts. Rossevelt believed that with baseball continuing, many children and older citizens would participate and that way the game would continue to grow while the major league players were off at war.
Baseball didn’t only entertain people who were outside of the war, it also entertained soldiers who were in the war. Soldiers who had free time could play baseball to pass time and to distract their brains from the war and stressful thoughts. Baseball was an easy hobby to pick up considering all you needed was a bat and ball. The Bleacher Report’s article titled “Major League Baseball’s Popularity During WWll” states, “Unlike major leaders or battles, the sport may not have directly impacted the outcome on the battlefield, yet it made a valuable contribution on the home front and American morale that cannot be overlooked”.
Since many players had left for the war, this gave women the chance to participate in the sport. Philip K. Wrigley, who was the Chicago Cubs owner, began the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943. Many women were interested in this allowed over 500 women to play on over 14 teams. In 1945, women who were a part of the baseball league very much supported the war effort and visited hospitals to speak to wounded soldiers as a sign of respect. Many of these women had relatives or husbands who were apart of the war and appreciated all that they had done. Most everyone was accepting of women partaking in baseball because these women took jobs in factories that made military machinery. They stepped outside of their comfort zones and left their homes in order to help and support the war effort.