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1945 All-Star Game Cancelled, Only Time in MLB History

       
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              Fenway Park             Fenway Park         

    1945 All-Star Game Cancelled

Due to America’s top priority being the War effort against Germany and Japan, Baseball Library records that the Major League owners decided on February 22, 1945, to cancel the 1945 All-Star game scheduled to be played at Fenway Park in Boston on July 10.

Even after the cancellation‚ schedule-makers leave the dates of 9‚ 10 and 11 in case circumstances might change‚ permitting the game. In place of the All-star game‚ 8 simultaneous games pitting the NL vs. the AL are to be played. Seven are played‚ with the 8th being cancelled. Also approved is a rule change stating that a player needs 400 at bats to qualify for a batting title.

In a seperate entry for April 24, 1945, Baseball Library further records;

Approved is the Malaney Plan for interleague play‚ first brought up at the February meeting. Besides the same-city games‚ Cincinnati will play at Cleveland‚ Brooklyn at Washington‚ and Detroit at Pittsburgh. The latter contest will later be scrapped when the ODT refused to grant the Tigers permission to detour 62 miles to get to Pittsburgh. The seven benefit games will held on July 9 and 10.

Baseball Almanac records the cancellation of the All-Star game, the only such cancellation in MLB history, in more detail;

Initially, the entire season was in jeopardy as the American war effort against Japan was receiving full attention and resources. In February, a memo was sent out from the Office of Defense Transportation ensuring that the season could take place if all teams reduced their travel by twenty-five percent (as compared to the 1944 season). Like most of America, both the league and its fans agreed to sacrifice and the Midsummer Classic was one of the first events to go. Originally scheduled to take place in Boston at Fenway Park, the affair was the first All-Star Game to be cancelled since its inception in 1933. According to Ford C. Frick, president of the National League, cutting out the contest would bring a significant savings with approximately 500,000-less passenger miles spent.

As a replacement, eight simultaneous “inter-league” games were scheduled between the National and American Leagues to help raise money for the American Red Cross and War Relief efforts. These games included the New Yankees versus the Giants at the Polo Grounds, the Chicago Cubs versus the White Sox at Comiskey Park, the Cincinnati Reds versus the Cleveland Indians at Cleveland Stadium, the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Browns at Sportsman’s Park, the Philadelphia Athletics versus the Phillies at Shibe Park and the Boston Braves versus the Red Sox at Fenway. 

The rosters for the 1945 All-Star Game are not considered official and the selections were made during an Associated Press poll in which thirteen of the sixteen managers participated (those who did not were Joe McCarthy of the Yankees and the two managers selected to manage the theoretical Midsummer Classic).

Baseball Almanac further records that ten players who were selected to the non-official All-Star rosters and who missed playing due to the cancellation had not been All-Stars previously and were never selected again.  Many of them had their only banner year in 1945. 

The ten were; pitchers Red Barrett and Russ Christopher, first baseman  Nick Etten, third baseman Oscar Grimes, pitcher Steve Gromek, infielder  Eddie Mayo, catchers Ken O’Dea and Mike Tresh, outfielder Goody Rosen and pitcher Hank Wyse.

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One Response to “1945 All-Star Game Cancelled, Only Time in MLB History”

  1. bobskole Says:

    The 1945 All-Star Game may have been cancelled, but there was a “true” World Series played between American and Japanese teams — despite the war. Here is a story about that 1945 Series about to be replayed…well, sort of…

    Tremendous Matsuzaka, Red Sox excitement
    reflects a USA-Japan series in WWII in neutral Sweden

    BOSTON (5 March 2007) — With the start of Spring Training and the first appearances with the Boston Red Sox of spectacular pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka – known as “Dice-K” – there is unmatched excitement among baseball fans in Japan and the United States.

    But this is not the first time Boston and Tokyo have met on the diamond – at least according to “Jumpin’ Jimminy – A World War II Baseball Saga: American Flyboys and Japanese Submariners Battle it Out in a Swedish World Series” (published by iUniverse, Inc).

    Based partially on historic events, this novel, by Robert Skole, a journalist living in Boston and Stockholm, tells the story of ball games played in the spring and summer of 1945 in neutral Sweden. Top-notch teams of servicemen of the two nations at war face off in a world series in a Stockholm replica of Fenway Park.

    The American team is the 10-man crew of Jumpin’ Jimminy, a B-17 bomber that crash landed in Sweden. And over 100 US bombers did land in Sweden. The Japanese team is from a fictional submarine that went aground on Swedish rocks.

    The series is organized by a baseball crazy Swedish major, who, as a boy, fell in love with the game seeing Jim Thorpe and Americans in demonstration ball games during the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. The Japanese submariners have been making meatballs of his Swedish amateur ball players. Now, the best ball team in the Eighth Air Force could show the Japanese some real opposition.

    The American team is led by two Bostonians – the plane’s pilot, who had been an ace pitcher at Harvard, and a crewman gunner, the catcher, from Boston’s working class West End. As kids, they had often played ball on Boston Common. The Japanese team’s star pitcher has, appropriately, a submarine ball that astounds and dazzles the Yanks. He can pitch nine innings without losing a bit of his super-hot steam.

    Before spring training and the start of the series, the Jumpin’ Jimminy crew spends the winter months at various “civilian” assignments – most of them sheer joy. Like the tail-gunner/shortstop — the only black B-17crewman in the Eighth Air Force — who speaks fluent Swedish, learned when he worked at a Swedish market in Chicago. He teaches his Swedish “cousins” how to create the absolutely best darn vodka on the moonshine market.

    The Polish-American co-pilot introduces Swedes to kielbasa, made according to his family’s famous recipe. The plane’s radioman, an amateur preacher, goes on a revival tour, with two charming blondes as interpreters.

    The pilot and bombardier end up working on secret spy assignments for the OSS. Meanwhile, the Japanese maintain their sub, wait for orders from Tokyo, and dine on sushi featuring whale meat brought in from Norway.

    All in all, it’s a wonderful romp in a Swedish island of peace, both for the Americans and Japanese – until spring training begins and the first pitch is thrown to open the Series.

    “You are not going to read another book like this one in your lifetime,” says Bill McDonald, former president, Military Writers Society of America, www.militarywriters.com.

    The book’s author, Robert Skole, a long-time American foreign correspondent based in Stockholm, says Jumpin’ Jimminy takes up where Catch-22 leaves off, with Yossarian heading for neutral, peaceful Sweden.

    Skole has been on the staff of The Japan Times and has written for Japanese publications, including Nikkei Business. He has written a dozen books, mainly about Sweden.

    He’s now one of Red Sox nation’s most excited fans, waiting to enjoy a version of his fictional story – with Japanese stars playing for Boston at Fenway Park

    Please go to www.jumpinjimminy.com for reviews and more about “Jumpin’ Jimminy – A World War II Baseball Saga”.

    The book is represented by Marty Shindler, of the Los Angeles based The Shindler Perspective, Inc. ( www.iShindler.com ).

    # # #

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