Rothenberg: Putting the game on ice

From SABR member Matt Rothenberg at on January 13, 2015:

In March 1953, the United States Navy icebreaker Burton Island joined the United States Coast Guard icebreaker Northwind on a 47-day expedition, attempting to reach Nome, Alaska. Two tries were unsuccessful, due to thick ice in one area of the Bering Strait and the southward drift of an ice pack in another area.

Having reached an area of shore-fast ice in a bay along Alaska’s Saint Lawrence Island, crew members of the ships, using an empty cardboard beer case as home plate, participated in a pickup baseball game. In the shadow of the cliffs, the batter is set to receive a pitch as the fielders wait, each person’s dark clothing contrasting against the strikingly white snow and ice. The game-time temperature was well below zero!

The photographer is unknown, as are the participants’ identities. However, the coat of the catcher, whose back is to the camera, reveals a clue. Faint dark lettering shows “AGB,” a reference to the Burton Island, whose identification during its Navy tenure was AGB-1. We cannot be sure whether these are, indeed, sailors from the Burton Island.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 14, 2015. Last Updated: January 14, 2015.