From SABR member Joe Schuster at The National Pastime Museum on December 13, 2017:
Even before the United States entered the Second World War in December 1941, baseball’s powers-that-be were assessing how it might affect the game. This was especially true when, in late summer 1940, Congress began debating instituting a military draft.
In response, The Sporting News ran a commentary discussing how a draft might impact the game, saying in part:
The earliest effect will be on the young player market. Scouts already have been advised to go slow on purchases of youthful, unmarried minor league players . . . . This state of affairs . . . will stimulate interest in the past-30 players, of whom too many have been scorned in the past.
As we know, Congress did institute a draft—in fact, the very week The Sporting News editorial appeared. In all, 10 million American men served in the military during the war; roughly 500 were Major Leaguers.
- Related link: Get your free e-book copy of SABR’s Who’s On First: Replacement Players in World War II
Originally published: December 13, 2017. Last Updated: December 13, 2017.