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Baseball in the Armed Forces


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#1 67Rally

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 12:55 PM

I have been wanting to start this topic for quite some time and my reluctance was merely due to not knowing the best location to host on this forum.

I have been collecting militaria for a number of years dating back to when saved things from my bootcamp experience, mementos from my early naval career (including my ship's very first commissioning pennant that was raised on commissioning day) through to when my grand uncle allowed me to keep a trunk full of Third Reich militaria that was stashed in a trunk in my grandparents attic since June of 1945. 

My favorite area of collecting militaria centers on my passion for the game of baseball (I collected as a kid and young adult) and as the history of the game (and its likeness) dates back to the American Civil War and is inseparably intertwined with the U.S. Armed Forces, I found the cross-over collecting to be something of a passion that is now borderline obsessive. I thought that it would be fun to start a thread that prompted my fellow USMF brethren to share their military baseball items (along with any research they have conducted) in one, all-encompassing thread. I will start introducing you to some of my pieces that I have come into in the last 4-5 years. I hope that you folks will join in and share what you have!

 

First up is this wool flannel baseball jersey (and trousers - not shown) that has some light mothing. The blue/gold trim and the "Aviation Squadron" could indicate a correlation to a naval aviation-oriented team. Judging by the label and the design, this uniform appears to be from WWII-late 1940s. It does have stenciled in several locations, "Aviation Squadron" (instead of a veteran's name).

 

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#2 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 01:43 PM

Baseball he says......

 

L Troop, 4th US Cavalry Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii 1915

 

Nice jersey you've posted, wish I had the checkered ballcap in this photo

Attached Images

  • L Troop 4th Cavalry Schofield Barracks Baseball Team 001a wm.jpg

Edited by Salvage Sailor, 07 April 2019 - 12:22 AM.


#3 Catfishcraig

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 02:17 PM

In many of my great uncles letters he wrote about going to US Marine baseball games on Pavuvu during WWII.

#4 willysmb44

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 02:54 PM

I wonder when organized sports within units stopped being a thing.

I served in the Army from the 90s and early 2000s, and no units had sports teams to play against others, at least not on any post I was at...



#5 The Meatcan

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:19 PM

Wow! Those are some fantastic items! Hope this thread continues as it is a fascinating topic and area to collect. Thanks for starting this.
Batter up!
Terry

#6 Longhorn92

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:28 PM

One of my high school math teachers used to like to talk about playing baseball for the 3rd ID baseball team sometime in the 50's.

I don't remember organized sports teams, either in the early 90's.

I have a pic of my grandfather playing in immediate post war Austria that I've posted here before. Not organized, though. Looks like they're just having fun.

#7 aznation

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:30 PM

My Grandfather who was a Marine during 1921-1922.  He was detailed to the post office to guard trains, trucks, main buildings and isolated transfer stations.  The Marine action was no token show. Nor was it a small scale operation. The Marines were serious, heavily armed, and in a high state of readiness. The original contingent consisted of 53 officers and 2,200 enlisted men dispatched throughout the country. Post office robberies stopped immediately. No one wished to face armed, ready Marines. The first Marine guard action ended in March 1922.  To read more about the U.S. Marine Mail Guards, go to http://www.therailro...tory.htm#UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS MAIL GUARDSb1.jpg

 

 



#8 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:42 PM

11th Field Artillery belt buckle - Hawaiian Division Baseball Champions 1935

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  • 11th FA Hawaiian Division Baseball Champions 1935 001.jpg
  • 11th FA Hawaiian Division Baseball Champions 1935 002.jpg


#9 R Michael

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:44 PM

Great uniform and photos guys! I bet the reason no name in the jersey was that It belonged to the unit and not one particular person.

 

Here is my contribution. Steve NMI Johnson a semi pro ball player before joining the Corp. Was on the 3rd Mar Div. Guam Allstars. Played semi pro ball after the war where he met his future wife. I guess she talked him into settling down as somewhere in the late 1940s he stopped playing ball.

 

Mike

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Edited by R Michael, 07 March 2016 - 03:45 PM.


#10 aznation

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:47 PM

Just sold this WW2 baseball awhile back.  This WW2 baseball is identified with the name J.D. Riley on the ball.

 

My research revealed that the full name of this individual is James David Riley who was born in 1924 in Ardmore, OK and passed away in 2012. He was an Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (US Navy). The ball has James handwritten locales of places he was stationed or assigned as well as some ships he was assigned to or was aboard.

 

Evidently, James was stationed at the Norman Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma for a period, probably for Aviation Machinist's Mate training.

 

He attended grade school in Ardmore and moved to Oklahoma City. He would have graduated from Classen High School with the class of 1943, but left early because he wanted to join the Navy. He left for basic training in January, 1943, and stopped to watch a Classen basketball game where he should have been playing. He served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 and was stationed in Jacksonville, FL, San Diego, CA, Guam and Saipan.

 

After an honorable discharge he attended the University of Oklahoma where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

 

Jim graduated from OU in August, 1950 and worked in sales until his retirement from Mosler Safe Company in 1986.

 

One of Jim's favorite activities in retirement was his involvement at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, where he was an active docent for 25 years.

 

Another member of the Greatest Generation lost.

 

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#11 dskjl

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 04:05 PM

I collect military sports pieces and although they do come up here and there, you just don't see as much some other military collectibles.

 

Great jersey, I don't have one of those but I will be on the hunt now.



#12 Sarge8

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:07 PM

This was from an Army Doctor who was stationed at Camp Kilmer.

 

 

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  • Uni 3.jpg


#13 Sarge8

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:08 PM

Came with hat and pants.

 

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#14 67Rally

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:25 PM

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How about these Marines in Santo Domingo in the early parts of the 20th Century?

Edited by 67Rally, 07 March 2016 - 07:35 PM.


#15 67Rally

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:42 PM

Or perhaps a USMC team taking to the Peking (China) diamond in the 1910s.

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Edited by 67Rally, 07 March 2016 - 07:43 PM.


#16 67Rally

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 08:12 PM

Baseball he says......

 

L Troop, 4th US Cavalry Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii 1915

 

Nice jersey you've posted, wish I had the checkered ballcap in this photo

 

That ball cap is fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing!



#17 67Rally

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 08:14 PM

This was from an Army Doctor who was stationed at Camp Kilmer.

 

 

 

This is pretty nice. I have pics (I'll post later on) of my uncle wearing a similar type of shirt for his baseball uniform from the 1930s aboard the USS Smith.



#18 Catfishcraig

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 07:19 AM

Given the time of the year here in Arizona, this is an awsome thread! Thanks for sharing 😀

#19 dskjl

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 07:37 AM

here is another early set.
http://www.usmilitar...m-not-the-norm/



#20 ccyooper

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 08:04 AM

Sports are still a big part of Army life and I expect the other services as well.  Most installations still have leagues for softball and basketball, etc.  Great thread, my father played BB in WWII.   I still have a jersey somewhere from when I was playing softball in Korea in the early 80's. Thank you for sharing.



#21 67Rally

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 08:36 AM

Caption tape on the reverse reads: "The base ball squad, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California. 1916"

 

 

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Edited by 67Rally, 08 March 2016 - 08:49 AM.


#22 67Rally

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 08:39 AM

This is an often-seen uniform here on the forum and on eBay. My uniform (jersey and trousers) is in pristine, though game-worn, condition. This was the basis for Ebbets Field Flannel's reproduction USMC jersey, though they were unable to replicate the red button on the letter "I" (in "Marines") due to the non-standard button/hole alignment on the original.

 

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#23 willysmb44

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 10:38 AM

Sports are still a big part of Army life and I expect the other services as well.  Most installations still have leagues for softball and basketball, etc. 

 

In my time in the Army, I never even heard of any teams for any sports. Heck, I had a guy in one of my line companies that was a really good baseball player in high school and was being recruited for second string by a few small colleges but wanted to serve in the military much more. He made the comment to me once that he was surprised there weren't any baseball teams on any post he'd been to...
 



#24 67Rally

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 11:13 AM

 

In my time in the Army, I never even heard of any teams for any sports. Heck, I had a guy in one of my line companies that was a really good baseball player in high school and was being recruited for second string by a few small colleges but wanted to serve in the military much more. He made the comment to me once that he was surprised there weren't any baseball teams on any post he'd been to...
 

When I served in the 80s-90s, there were no base baseball teams. The only leagues that command teams participated in was for softball (which I played). At my last duty station, we were putting together a team that I had no shot at being a part of - it was for a 30+ baseball league and this team was the only one from the military with the remainder being culled from the surrounding community.



#25 Wolfhound

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 11:30 AM

Not quite baseball, but related...

I remember my father playing Fast Pitch Softball at Yakota and Goose Bay AF Bases from mid 60s through the early 70s. Somewhere I still have his full softball uniform. The highlight was when The King and His Court came and played the base team.

I remember most Air Bases and Army Posts in Europe had football teams in the late 70s and early 80s. I don't recall as much emphasis on sports teams in CONUS, but overseas they seemed common, though I think the emphasis on fast pitch softball has waned.




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