Two 1940 All-Star Game Baseballs (MO 1941.12.49.1&2)

“Baseball has been called the national pastime and rightly so because it stands for the fair play, clean living and good sportsmanship which are our national heritage. That is why it has such a warm place in our hearts.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, August 5, 1936.

As Major League Baseball’s opening day approaches, we are reminded of Franklin Roosevelt’s love of the game.  A true fan, he holds the record for throwing out the most opening day first pitches of all presidents (eight).   FDR also threw out the first pitch at two World Series games and the 1937 All-Star Game.

In the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack and America’s entry into World War II, Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis grew concerned about the propriety of proceeding with the 1942 baseball season amid the national emergency. President Roosevelt promptly responded to Judge Landis’ concerns with what has become known as the “Green Light Letter”— giving baseball the green light to proceed and expressing its great value to the nation in time of war.

These two autographed baseballs from the 1940 All-Star Game were presented to the President as gifts. They were signed by a number of All-Stars players, including:

Luke Appling (Chicago White Sox)
Paul Derringer (Cincinnati Reds)
Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees)
Frankie Hayes (Philadelphia Athletics)
Billy Herman (Chicago Cubs)
Joe Medwick (Brooklyn Dodgers)
Johnny Mize (St. Louis Cardinals)
Terry Moore (St. Louis Cardinals)
Bucky Walters (Cincinnati Reds)

To learn more about baseball and our American Presidents, please visit: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/pdfs/docsbaseball.pdf