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The Nats and the Grays

How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever

David E. Hubler and Joshua H. Drazen

Hardback
Paperback
eBook
On a chilly Sunday, December 7, 1941, major league baseball’s owners gathered in Chicago for their annual winter meetings, just two months after one of baseball’s greatest seasons. For the owners, the attack on Pearl Harbor that morning was also an attack on baseball. They feared a complete shutdown of the coming 1942 season and worried about players they might lose to military service. But with the support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the national pastime continued.

The Nats and the Grays: How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever examines the impact of the war on the two teams in Washington, DC—the Nationals of the American League and the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues—as well as the impact of the war on major league baseball as a whole. Each chapter is devoted to a wartime year, beginning with 1941 and ending with the return of peacetime in 1946, including the exciting American League pennant races of 1942-1945. This account details how the strong friendship between FDR and Nationals team owner Clark Griffith kept the game alive throughout the war, despite numerous calls to shut it down; the constant uncertainties the game faced each season as the military draft, federal mandates, national rationing, and other wartime regulations affected the sport; and the Negro Leagues’ struggle for recognition, solvency, and integration.

In addition to recounting the Nationals’ and the Grays’ battles on and off the field during the war, this book looks beyond baseball and details the critical events that were taking place on the home front, such as the creation of the GI Bill, the internment of Japanese Americans, labor strikes, and the fight for racial equality. World War II buffs, Negro League historians, baseball enthusiasts, and fans of the present-day Washington Nationals will all find this book on wartime baseball a fascinating and informative read.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 342Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-4574-7 • Hardback • March 2015 • $68.00 • (£47.95)
978-1-4422-8190-5 • Paperback • February 2017 • $25.00 • (£15.95)
978-1-4422-4575-4 • eBook • March 2015 • $23.00 • (£15.95)
David E. Hubler is a professional writer who has worked for such organizations as the Washington Post Co., United Press International, and the Voice of America, where he served as the literary editor for a decade. He has written numerous articles for such publications as The Washington Times magazine, The Washington Post, and Islands Magazine. This is his fourth book.

Joshua H. Drazen is a professional writer and researcher. He has been a Washington correspondent for the Medill News Service, a reporter for the Times newspaper in Chicago, and a reporter on Capitol Hill for a variety of news outlets.
Acknowledgments
Preface
Chapter One 1941: BP – Before Pearl Harbor
Chapter Two 1942: Changing Uniforms
Chapter Three 1943: Coming Up Just Short
Chapter Four 1944: Meet Me in St. Louie, Bluege
Chapter Five 1945: Rounding Third and Heading Home
Afterword 1946: Extra Innings
Notes
Index
About The Authors
The Nats are breeding a new generation of homegrown supporters. . . .In their new book, David E. Hubler and Joshua H. Drazen chronicle the history of baseball in the capital during World War II. . .I did learn a few things from this book. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, was a great baseball fan who managed the team at Groton School and helped raise the American flag at Griffith Stadium on opening day in 1917.
The Washington Post


With co-author David E. Hubler, Drazen gives a beautifully detailed look at the Nationals of the American League and the Homestead Grays of the Negro League baseball teams during World War II in Washington.
Medill Magazine


Anyone who thinks Major League baseball during the Second World War was dull, amateurish and devoid of truly exceptional play because most of the stars were off fighting the war should pick up a copy of The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever to be disabused of such erroneous notions. . . . This extraordinary history by David E. Hubler and Joshua H. Drazen is filled with colorful stories and previously unknown anecdotes that can fuel a hot stove league for weeks, if not months. . . .[The] anecdotes . . . are told in sharp, unadorned prose devoid of sports jargon and a plethora of statistics, but often with insight and humor as befitting such an outstanding sports history. It belongs on the library shelves of all baseball fans and World War II history buffs.
East Orlando Post


History buffs and baseball fans get a lesson in an often overshadowed story of how World War II affected America’s favorite pastime. Readers get a look at the relationship FDR had with the game, the missions players took on during the war and the Negro League’s struggle for equality.
Northern Virginia Magazine


A compelling examination of the impact of the war on Washington, DC's two baseball teams as well as on major league baseball as a whole.
University of New Hampshire Magazine


The Nats and the Grays: How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever examines the impact of the war on the two teams in Washington, DC—the Nationals of the American League and the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues—as well as the impact of the war on major league baseball as a whole. This account details how the strong friendship between FDR and Nationals team owner Clark Griffith kept the game alive throughout the war; the constant uncertainties the game faced each season as the military draft, federal mandates, national rationing, and other wartime regulations affected the sport; and the Negro Leagues’ struggle for recognition, solvency, and integration. The Nats and the Grays also details crucial events on the home front, such as the creation of the GI Bill, the internment of Japanese Americans, labor strikes, and the fight for racial equality. World War II buffs, Negro League historians, baseball enthusiasts, and fans of the present-day Washington Nationals will all find this book on wartime baseball a fascinating and informative read.
DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association


Whether you are a Baby Boomer whose mom threw out your baseball cards, or a DC area Millennials with interest sky high for the current Washington Nationals with its heaps of young talent and scurrying around the bases, larger than life-sized Presidents, there is a new book for you. . . .Based upon a recent rich, lively, deeply enthralling interview, Hubler’s book is no dry history or ribald fiction. It is a special book about rarely written events from a key time now fading from us.
DC Metro Theater Arts


The story of how Major League Baseball survived World War II is often little more than an interruption in the historical narrative, but David Hubler and Joshua Drazen provide a compelling tale of two Washington teams—the Homestead Grays and the Washington Nationals—set skillfully against the backdrop of wartime DC. Baseball provided not only much needed entertainment but its own unlikely heroes fighting for victory. This story is one that needed telling and it makes great reading.
Ted Leavengood, managing editor of seamheads.com


An important contribution to baseball, Washington Senators, and American history. With clarity and insight, Hubler and Drazen provide the full story of baseball's role in the nation's capital during a critical period in the twentieth century.
Richard Zamoff, director of the Jackie Robinson Project


Baseball remains our national pastime because it is the only sport that honors its past. A significant part of that pastthe years of World War II in Washington, DCare brought to life in vivid prose by David Hubler and Joshua Drazen in The Nats and the Grays. The authors seamlessly weave together the stories of those troubled seasons with the events and mood of the war years and the first steps toward the racial integration of the major leagues. A powerful performance.
Stanley Cohen, award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist, author of The Game They Played and A Magic Summer: The Amazin’ Story of the 1969 New York Mets


A meticulously researched and wonderfully written account of a tumultuous time in baseball and America. This book makes a great addition to every serious fan's baseball library.
Hal Bock, retired Associated Press columnist


David E. Hubler and Joshua H. Drazen’s The Nats and the Grays is a colorful and most satisfying history of modern baseball in Washington, DC. This book is both richly detailed and genuinely insightful—a perfect combination for those of us who love reading about our favorite game.
Paul Dickson, author of Bill Veek: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick and The Dickson Baseball Dictionary


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