From SABR member Austin Gisriel at Seamheads.com on December 7, 2016:
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor which changed every aspect of American life, including baseball and many of its players.
Future Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Hank Greenburg enlisted on December 9, 1941. Greenburg had been drafted, served in the Army, and had just been discharged earlier in the year. Feller enlisted in the Navy and insisted on serving in combat and not on an “entertainment squad.” In all, 35 future members of the Hall of Fame, including umpires, executives, and Negro League players served in the military, including, besides Feller and Greenburg, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Jackie Robinson among others.
So many players left for the service that the number of minor leagues fell from 44 in 1940 to 12 by war’s end. It was this “man”-power shortage, of course, that led to the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, featured in the film, A League of Their Own.
Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/blog/2016/12/07/ballplayers-of-world-war-ii-did-their-part/
Originally published: December 8, 2016. Last Updated: December 8, 2016.