Monday, October 29, 2012

Love of the Game Auctions: War Bonds Jubilee and Joe DiMaggio

With the 2012 Baseball season officially at a close, I think I will spend this moment to focus on a couple of great vintage memorabilia items I ran into at a Love of the Game Auction online.  They are not Dodgers related, but do include some great items featuring a few old-time Hall of Famers.  Take a look below.

(Auction Link)

With Major League Baseball recently honoring ballplayers who have served in the military, I thought these items would be great to take a look at.  First, above is a vintage 1943 RPPC (Real Photo Postcard) of Joltin Joe DiMaggio playing ball in front of a large crowd of military personnel in Camp Cooke in California.  Camp Cooke is now called Vandenberg Air Force Base.  His swing is unmistakable in the photo as he looks up to sky in search of the ball that he just hit to deep left field.  This postcard did not sell, but I think the opening bid of $1,500.00 had a lot to do with that. 

(Auction Link)

Here is another military related memorabilia item that was on auction.  Here is a vintage photo from 1943 featuring 7 of 12 living and 3 future Hall of Famers at the War Bonds Jubilee on August 26th at the Polo Grounds. From the top row, left to right: Duffy Lewis, Eddie Collins (HOF), Roger Bresnahan (HOF), Connie Mack (HOF), Bill Klem (HOM), Red Murray, George Sisler (HOF), Honus Wagner (HOF), Frankie Frisch (HOF), Babe Ruth (HOF), Walter Johnson (HOF), and Tris Speaker (HOF).  From the auction description about the event: 
In 1943, New York Journal-American reporters Max Case and Bill Corum had the idea of assembling a team of All-Stars from the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants to play against a team of All-Stars from the US Army.  Hosted at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan, the "War Bonds Jubilee" became a massive event, featuring actors, singers, comedians and dance bands, and was capped by an exhibition of baseball's all-time greats.

After the New York All-Stars beat the Army's New Cumberland Reception Center team (a team that featured future Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Enos Slaughter) 5-2, the all-time All-Stars took the field.  Sid Feder of the Associated Press chronicled the event as follows:

"There were still 35,000 lumps in 35,000 throats around the village Friday, all because a dozen old men walked out on a ball field.  As they spread out on their regular spots on the field, the lump you got in your throat and the moisture in the eyes of some of the most blasé baseball writers in the press coop were more than enough to prove that the baseball fan is at least part elephant.  He never forgets.

"It didn't matter that in fielding some of Babe's "practice shots" Murray fell down, Speaker was practically decapitated and Collins was all but carried into right field by a line drive.  The folks had a look at 'em, and the Babe finally parked one.  That was the icing on the cake."That home run, which the mighty Ruth served up against the great Walter Johnson, would be the last home run Babe Ruth ever hit in a major league ballpark.

The Jubilee would help sell a staggering $800 million in war bonds to help fund the American war effort.


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