The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II

The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II


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In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year's World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In this spirited Field of Dreams-like father-daughter account, author Anne R. Keene opens with a story about her father, Jim Raugh, who suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition against Babe Ruth's team at Yankee Stadium.

Jimmy followed his baseball dreams as a college All-American, but was crushed later in life by a failed major-league bid with the Detroit Tigers. He would have carried this story to his grave had Anne not discovered his scrapbook from a Navy school that shaped America's greatest heroes including George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, Paul "Bear" Bryant, and John Wooden.

With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time in The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683583622
Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
Publication date: 04/21/2020
Pages: 408
Sales rank: 18,306
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Anne R. Keene has published work in TheNew York Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Raleigh News & Observer,and magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post. A finalist for the prestigious Casey Award, TheCloudbuster Nine was recognized by Newsday magazine as a “Top 12 Baseball Read for the Season.” Keene began her career as a speechwriter on Capitol Hill. She is a graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who resides in Austin, Texas.

Claudia Williams is the last surviving child of Ted Williams. She penned a loving and forthright memoir, Ted Williams, My Father. As the daughter of a Marine combat pilot in World War II and Korea, and one of the greatest athletes who ever lived, Claudia strives to inspire future generations with examples of the courage and principles that her father exhibited his entire life.  

Table of Contents

Prologue: Babe's Yanklands versus the Navy Pilots, July 28, 1943 vii

Introduction xv

Foreword Claudia Williams xix

Part I May 11, 1943

Chapter 1 The "Baseball Squad" 3

Chapter 2 The Comeback Kid 7

Chapter 3 Ration-League Baseball 11

Part II The Trunk

Chapter 4 A Trunk Holding Secrets 27

Chapter 5 The Size of a Dream 31

Chapter 6 My New Friend Ted 39

Chapter 7 A Dream Team 43

Chapter 8 A Train to Durham 56

Chapter 9 The Last Living Player 68

Chapter 10 A Batboy's Perspective 86

Chapter 11 Ted Who? 90

Part III The World's most Difficult Training Program

Chapter 12 The Pre-Flight Spark 97

Chapter 13 Tom Hamilton, The Fighting American 101

Chapter 14 Winning the One Big Game 115

Part IV The Right Stuff

Chapter 15 The Right-Stuff Culture 125

Chapter 16 Caldwell Hall-The Theory of Flight 128

Chapter 17 The Fathers of Survival Training 132

Part V Graham's Field of Dreams

Chapter 18 When The Navy Marched into Chapel Hill 143

Part VI Playing Baseball Military Style

Chapter 19 Walking Billboards for Baseball and That Ain't All 165

Chapter 20 The Season Continues 178

Chapter 21 Babe's Last At-Bat-The Yanklands 195

Part VII Graduation

Chapter 22 Ted's Next Station 211

Chapter 23 A Cloudbusters Reunion in Hawaii 232

Chapter 24 The Nine-After the War and the .5 Percent 243

Chapter 25 Extra Innings 254

Part VIII Always a Baseball Player

Chapter 26 The Love of the Game 265

Chapter 27 Longing for the Old Leaguer 279

Epilogue: Forever a Batboy 287

Afterword 290

Appendix-Major-League Players Who Trained at Chapel Hill during World War II 296

Acknowledgments 314

Bibliography 321

Photo credits 341

Index 342

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