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.