Keene: 75 years ago, when Ted met Babe at Fenway military stars game

From SABR member Anne Keene at Boston Sports Extra on July 16, 2018:

Seventy-five years ago, two of the world’s greatest hitters met in person for the first time at Fenway Park when the U.S. Navy granted Ted Williams leave to play on an armed forces team managed by Babe Ruth. The Fenway Park exhibition, where Ruth’s “All-Stars” faced Casey Stengel’s Boston Braves, was arranged to purchase eye glasses, leg braces and artificial limbs for war victims along with milk and food benefiting underprivileged kids.

Other military stars on Babe’s team included former Boston Red Sox “Dom” DiMaggio, a naval trainee, as well as 95-year-old George Yankowski, a former catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics who became an Army sniper and helped win the Battle of the Bulge.

Yankowski stood behind the photographer when the iconic homecoming photograph was taken in front of the Red Sox dugout. He said it was a “hot … hot humid day” with reporters and photographers hovering around Williams and Ruth like “ants on honey.” Yankowski recalled that Ruth was “drinking cold beer out of white pitcher.” That day Yankowski wore his woolen Fort Devens jersey and Williams returned to Fenway in his 1942 Red Sox traveling uniform, baggy from months of intense physical training as a Navy cadet. According to recent discoveries, the Bambino is dressed in a pin-striped Yankees uniform made by Western Costume Company for his role in “The Pride of the Yankees,” which is currently displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend.

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Originally published: July 16, 2018. Last Updated: July 16, 2018.