Tea and baseball …

By Jim Leeke — AABP

Have you spotted tea Baron Sir Thomas Lipton in our YouTube video? That’s him at the 0:43 mark. Sir Thomas was among many VIPS who attended the historic U.S. Army versus U.S. Navy baseball game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, on July 4, 1918.

George Earle Raiguel, a YMCA official from Philadelphia, later wrote a rollicking account of the game for an American magazine. Seven chorus girls in his box were selling souvenir programs for two shillings apiece to raise money for war charities. They delighted in targeting Sir Thomas and other important people in the crowd.

“Ah, Sir Thomas, won’t you buy a program?”

“I have several, thank you,” he would reply.

“Yes, but you haven’t bought one from me,” would be the rejoinder. And the Sweet Thing was all allurement.

“And I don’t think that I shall,” would come rather testily from his lordship or his grace.

But resistance was futile.

Ladies of the chorus do not attain the front row by meekness and mildness. So the Sweet Thing would be persistent and make things so uncomfortable for the personage that in desperation the personage would buy from her—only to be tackled immediately by another Sweet Thing. When the stock was depleted the programs were collected from those with an excess supply, only to be resold to the same people. Obviously, there was more than one game.

Read more about the great Fourth of July “baseball match” in Nine Innings for the King. Or head to your local library and look up Raiguel’s article, The Fourth of July That Rang Round the World: The Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played, in the July 1919 edition of The Ladies’ Home Journal.

Happy holidays from AABP …

By Jim Leeke — AABP

Boston Red Sox pitcher Herb Pennock joined the navy after the 1917 season to get away from baseball for a while. Naturally, the elegant southpaw from rural Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, wound up pitching for U.S. Navy versus U.S. Army on the Fourth of July, 1918, in front of King George V and tens of thousands of Allied troops and Londoners.

The “Squire of Kennett Square” felt differently about baseball by the time of the Armistice that November. Here’s what Pennock wired to the Boston Post shortly before Christmas:

I am proud of my present uniform, but it sure will feel good to get those old togs on again. It will be one big day when we head for home and the Statue of Liberty. Tell the fans my fast one is faster than I ever thought it could be and wish them a merry Christmas. — HERB PENNOCK, Red Sox.

‘Remarkable Scenes at Chelsea’ ...

By Jim Leeke — AABP

The great Fourth of July “baseball match” at Stamford Bridge in 1918 helped solidify the Anglo-American military alliance during the First World War. We’ve read many fine accounts of the event. Perhaps the most moving ran in The Times of London on July 5. Here’s how it began:

The baseball match on the Chelsea Football Ground yesterday was an awakener for London. It was a revelation of America at play; and the afternoon was as strenuous as a pillow-fight in a boys’ dormitory. It took us completely away to those distant times when we could rejoice under a blue sky, without looking for Zeppelins and Gothas. The afternoon was crammed full of extraordinary moments. It passed in such a pandemonium as was perhaps never heard before on an English playing-field; not even on a football ground. The United States seemed to be shouting in chorus, and Great Britain joined in, a little breathless, but determined to make a good show of lung power. Never, moreover, was a football ground so arrayed. The rather dingy surroundings were shut out by a square mile or two of flags, “Old Glory” and the Union Jack predominating, but the rest of the Allies not being forgotten. The grand stand was gloriously draped, and the King and Queen went to their seats by a flowery way. ...

Top of the first ...

By Jim Leeke — AABP

Welcome to the first post of the new Anglo-American Baseball Project blog. It replaces another blog that ran for several years elsewhere. This is where we’ll share news and comments about the AABP and our planned “baseball match” in London on July 4, 2018. 

You might have noticed the new video on our Home page. We think you’ll enjoy it. You’ll see actual newsreel footage of King George V at the US Army versus US Navy game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, in 1918. You’ll also learn more about the 2018 game.

We’ll post here again when we have something exciting to share with you. Check back soon.