Past Experience: War Games

Seattle | 1944
Professional baseball continued without interruption during World War II, thanks to a decree from President Franklin Roosevelt, a keen baseball fan who believed the games would be good for morale. With many ballplayers heading off to war, however, teams had to get creative in filling out their rosters. The best minor leaguers went to the majors, so minor league teams, including the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, signed teenagers and former big leaguers who still had a little gas in the tank. Batboy Sylvester “Junior” Johnson, shown here in August 1944 at Sick’s Seattle Stadium with Rainiers manager Bill Skiff, did not play that year. He was only 8. But Junior’s dad, longtime major league pitcher Syl Johnson, did — at age 43 — one of six players over 40 on the Rainiers’ roster in 1944. 
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