They Also Served: Baseball and the Home Front, 1941-45

Bill Gilbert, Author Crown Publishers $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-58522-1
When at the onset of WW II FDR penned his ``green light letter'' for major league baseball, few envisioned the dramatic and often zany changes in store for the game which shortages of players, material and capital would entail. Gilbert ( Real Grass, Real Heroes ) splendidly recaptures those gray days, threading baseball history with headline news from home and abroad. What makes this snappy, upbeat record special is Gilbert's focus, not on the game's greats but on the 4-Fs and has-beens sneeringly known elsewhere as wartime players. Resurrected from mothballs and raised to near-heroic status are one-armed outfielder Pete Gray; 15-year-old pitcher Joe Nuxhall; the first Cuban player, Bobby Estalella; and bullpen catcher Moe Berg.``Berg can speak 15 languages and can't hit in any of them.''--Casey Stengel Most memorable of these punchy portraits is that of Bert Shepard, who lost his leg in Germany and returned home to pitch briefly on a wooden replacement. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-09848-6
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