The National Pastime

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The National Pastime offers baseball history available nowhere else. Each fall this publication from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) explores baseball history with fresh and often surprising views of past players, teams, and events. Drawn from the research efforts of more than 6,700 SABR members, The National Pastime establishes an accurate, lively, and entertaining historical record of baseball. A Note from the Editor, Jim Charlton: If there is a theme in this issue of The National Pastime it is about baseball in the 1940s. Seven articles discuss some aspect of baseball during WW2 or immediately following the war. Jim Smith's wonderful homage to Chicago photographer George Brace, written and edited with the cooperation of George's daughter Mary Brace, is the cover article. Her recollections form the captions for her father's wonderful images. Brace's career photographing ballplayers began in the late 1920s and covered eight decades. Not even Minnie Minoso can match that! For forty years, Brace shot in black & white, but finally switched to color in 1959. His cover image of the great Stan Musial at Wrigley Field was shot that season, while the back cover photo of Billy Williams and Curt Flood was made ten years later. Tom Barthel writes a lively account of Joe Medwick and Leo Durocher's little-known USO trip in Italy at the height of WW2, while Steve Bullock's analysis on the war's impact on hitters is an intriguing one. Eric Moskowitz recounts how The Sporting News was on the forefront of the effort to support the war—and baseball. Going back a few decades, Bill Nowlin makes a persuasive case that the Pilgrims—Boston, that is—never existed. Steve Steinberg's account of spitballers before and after 1920 is admirably researched, while Sam Bernstein looks at the same era, discussing George Sisler and the National Commission. A quartet of profiles of little known major leaguers—one of which is from SABR's noteworthy Bioproject—are fine reading.

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