Hurte: Playing baseball for the cause

From SABR member Bob Hurte at on February 21, 2013:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval forces of the Empire of Japan…”

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Our nation entered a costly World War and the American people demonstrated their great patriotism and resolve to finance our country’s entry.  Not the least was our own National Pastime!

It was on June 12, 1944 that Roosevelt opened the “Fifth War loan drive.”  Via an unusual exhibition game of baseball, fans contributed $56.5 million.  This triple-header was billed as the “Tri-Cornered Baseball game Fifth War Loan.”

It pitted New York City’s three major league teams against each other.  The War Festival was held on June 26, 1944 at the Polo Grounds.  It was an idea conceived by the New York sportswriters and billed as a triple-header.  But in reality, it was actually a ’round robin.’  It was a nine-inning game with each team playing six.  This would be baseball’s first and only three-sided game.  New York Times writer Arthur Daley said: “All in all, it was a wonderful affair-crazy but wonderful.”

That day, fans were not just entertained by just a baseball game but several [innovative] contests.

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Originally published: February 21, 2013. Last Updated: February 21, 2013.