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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Even the Browns

Even the Browns: Baseball During World War IIEven the Browns: Baseball During World War II by William B. Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book looks at the years baseball played under the shadow of the Second World War when most of the top tier players were called into the service. While the quality of play dropped throughout the major leagues, the Browns, baseball's perennial losers during that era, were affected far less than other teams largely because their players were largely cast-offs, has beens, and never weres. The Browns won their only pennant in 1944 and played the St. Louis Cardinals in the first, last, and only all St. Louis series, "The Streetcar Series", played in old Sportsmans Park.

William Mead, who as a young boy lived in St. Louis and watched the Browns and Cardinals play, gives us a fast-paced, informative account of how baseball managed to continue on during this war (professional baseball was suspended during World War I) giving accounts of how the league and its owners successfully lobbied to have the games go on for the sake of morale, how baseball adapted to war time conditions (night games became more and more a part of the schedule to allow war industry workers the chance to go to games), and how various players who otherwise would have not had the chance to play managed to make and contribute to their teams.

Recommended for baseball fans, war history buffs, and sports fans.

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