Cieradkowski: Leon Day and the 1945 GI World Series

From SABR member Gary Cieradkowski at Studio Gary C on August 13, 2018:

Back in the late 1980’s, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Leon Day. The old Negro Leaguer lived nearby me in Baltimore, and I would spend afternoons in his little second floor baseball room listening to his stories. I once asked him what was the best game he ever pitched, and instead of naming his Opening Day no-hitter or one of his record-setting strikeout games, Day told me about his Game 2 masterpiece in the 1945 G.I. World Series…

By 1943, Leon Day was one of the best pitchers in baseball. The ace of the Newark Eagles since 1935, Day had a collective Negro National League record of 45-8. During the ‘42 East-West All-Star Game, Day entered the game in the 7th inning and struck out out 5 of the first 7 batters, beating the great Satchel Paige. The next year Newark had a lousy team, hampered by players entering the service, and Day’s record fell to 4-5 before he too got the call from Uncle Sam.

Day shipped out to England with the 818th Amphibian Battalion and went ashore on Utah Beach on June 12th, 1944. Leon drove a DUKW, a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle, across France and Belgium throughout 1944 and ’45.

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Originally published: August 13, 2018. Last Updated: August 13, 2018.