POW Baseball in World War II: The National Pastime behind Barbed Wire

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Nearly 130,000 American soldiers and 19,000 American civilians were captured by the enemy during the Second World War. The conditions under which they were held varied enormously but baseball, in various forms, was a common activity among these prisoners of war. Not just Americans, but Canadians, British, Australians and New Zealanders took the field, as well as the Japanese and even a few Germans. In the best of the German Stalags (permanent German camps where these prisoners were held, shortened from Stamm Lagers) there were often several leagues active at a time, with dozens of teams playing games continuously during the warm weather months. In the harsher Stalags, and in some Japanese camps, there was only makeshift ball playing. In places like Camp O'Donnell, the worst of the camps, there was no energy left for anything but the struggle to survive.

This work is the story of POW baseball, complete with guard versus prisoner ball games, radio parts hidden in baseballs, and future major leaguers. The book is divided into the various prison camps and describes the types of prisoners held there and the degree to which baseball was played

Author Biography: .Tim Wolter is a practicing physician who has written articles on the history of baseball and the philosophy of medicine. He lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786411863
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/18/2001
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

SABR member Tim Wolter is a practicing physician who has written articles on the history of baseball and the philosophy of medicine. He lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Time on the Bench 1
1. Kriegies 9
2. Stalag Luft I 16
3. Stalag Luft III 24
4. Stalag Luft VI and Stalag Luft IV 37
5. Stalag IIIB 43
6. Oflag 64 58
7. Stalag Bush Leagues 65
8. Bad Nauheim Internment 76
9. Stealing Home: Baseball and Escape 81
10. Mickey Grasso 85
11. Augie Donatelli 91
12. Phil Marchildon 95
13. Bert Shepard 101
14. O Canada 106
15. Under the Rising Sun 116
16. The Philippines, Part I: Life in the Camps 123
17. The Philippines, Part II: The Work Details 131
18. The Philippines, Part III: Civilian Internments 140
19. Shanghai 155
20. Mukden 160
21. In the Boondocks 166
22. Shantung Compound 179
23. Japan 184
24. Axis Prisoners of War 191
25. The Prisoners of Tashkent 207
Afterword 211
Notes 215
Sources 221
Index 227
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