Baseball and the Bottom Line in World War II

Gunning for Profits on the Home Front

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About the Book

How did the business of professional baseball fare during World War II? The sport, like many nonessential industries, struggled to find its place in society during a time of war. The men who ran the game faced government interference and manpower shortages that threatened to shut down their businesses for the duration, and they had to balance the need to show a patriotic front to the public while at the same time protecting their investments. Archival and primary sources provide insight into the perceptions of the major league owners and an understanding of how most of them were able to keep their businesses profitable while the nation fought an enormous two-front war.

About the Author(s)

SABR member Jeff Obermeyer’s baseball history research appears in Nine, Baseball Research Journal, and National Pastime. He lives in Kirkland, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Jeff Obermeyer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7043-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0129-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword by Michael S. Neiberg 1

Preface 3

Introduction 7

1. Baseball’s Relationship with the Military and Society Before World War II 11

2. Baseball at the Outbreak of World War II 31

3. Baseball and the War Effort 55

4. The Professional Game on the Field 78

5. Baseball in the Military 94

6. The Business of Baseball 110

7. The Players Come Marching Home 162

8. The Boom—Baseball Following World War II 181

Conclusion 202

Chapter Notes 209

Bibliography 219

Index 225


Book Reviews & Awards

“Offers a much-needed assessment of the economics of the game during World War II. And in doing so, it successfully challenges some long-held assumptions about the professional sport’s financial health during the early 1940s”—Nine.