Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


Baseball in Wartime Timeline

1940    1941    1942    1943    1944    1945


June 28

Hugh Bedient Jr, son of the former major league pitcher, Hugh Bedient, and an excellent college pitcher at the University of Alabama who played three games with the Evansville Bees in 1938, is the first minor league player to enlist in military service when he joins the Army Air Corps.




French White, shortstop with Anniston in the Southeastern League and former baseball captain at the University of Chicago begins training as a flying cadet at the Naval Reserve Aviation base at Glenview, Illinois.


May 16

With the Allies on the defensive in France, President Roosevelt asks Congress to appropriate $2.5 billion to expand the Army and Navy.


June 10

The Italian government ends its neutrality and declares war on France and Britain.


June 17

Hugh Bedient Jr, who enlisted in the Army Air Corps in June 1939, is killed when two twin-engined bombers collide above a residential area of Queens, New York.



Tar Heel League umpire Stephen Dobos volunteers for service with the British Royal Air Force but is rejected because he has no previous flying experience.


July 31

The PONY League's James Gaynor is the first umpire from organized baseball to enter military service in WWII. Gaynor will become a captain based at 5th Army Corps Headquarters, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana.


September 16

The Burke-Wadsworth bill (known as The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940), is passed by the Congress of the United States, becoming the first peacetime conscription in American history. The Act requires those men between the ages of 21 and 35 register with local draft boards. The Act states that no more than 900,000 men can be called in any one year, and after a year of service draftees would then be enrolled in the reserves for ten years.


October 8

The Cincinnati Reds clinch the World Series at Crosley Field with a 2-1 win against the Detroit Tigers in Game Seven.


October 16

16.5 million men register at 125,000 registration offices throughout the country on National Registration Day in accordance with the Selective Training and Service Act. Every registrant is given a number between 1 and 7,836, which is the highest number of registrants any draft board is permitted to carry.


October 29

Brigadier General Lewis B Hershey, the deputy director of Selective Service and the man who set up the system of 5,500 draft boards in civilian hands, presides over the first drawing of draft numbers to determine the order in which the first 800,000 men who had registered on October 16 should be called up for training.


October 30

Fred Price, first baseman with Clinton in the Three-I League becomes the first minor league player to enlist when he joins the Army.


November 5

President Roosevelt wins a third term as President of the United States, defeating Republican candidate Wendell Wilke.


November 18

First 30,000 selectees are called into military service. Most major league baseball players are safe from draft. Joe DiMaggio has draft number 5,342.


November 25

Bill Embick, outfielder with the Harrisburg Senators of the Interstate League, is the first minor league player to be drafted.


December 12

Billy Southworth Jr, Toronto Maple Leafs’ outfielder and son of the Cardinals’ manager, enlists in the Army Air Corps.


Copyright © 2020 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.