Thorn: It takes a team: baseball and our armed services

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on June 29, 2016:

“When I was a boy growing up in Kansas,” an elderly Dwight David Eisenhower recalled, “a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of a summer afternoon on a river bank we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him I wanted to be a real major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he’d like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish.” 

When we were young our first heroes were Mom and Dad. Cast in their mold, we soon sought to be heroes ourselves—ballplayers or movie stars, battlefield stalwarts or national leaders. But we learn that even a hero can go only so far on his own. Playing ball or defending our values, it takes a team.

The upcoming Major League Baseball game at Fort Bragg—the first regular-season game of a professional sport ever played on an active military basegives rise to thoughts about baseball’s long relationship with our armed services. Indeed, our national pastime’s origin, once thought to be the brainstorm of a boy who grew up to become a hero in battle, goes even farther back, beyond Abner Doubleday to … George Washington!

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Originally published: June 29, 2016. Last Updated: June 29, 2016.