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vintagesportscollector 04-13-2017 03:09 PM

Army v. Navy Game….July 4th, 1918, Baseball in London!
14 Attachment(s)
...the 3rd part in our British Baseball series...:)

A 1918 RPPC of Navy v. Army Baseball Game on July 4th, 1918, in London.

First pitch thrown out by King George. Significant and historic Baseball Game that was widely covered globally at the time, and has since been documented and published in books.

Hall of Famer Herb Pennock pitched for the Navy team which was captained by his Red Sox teammate Mike McNally. Ed Lafitte, Detroit Tigers, pitched for Army. Navy won 2 to 1. Arlie Latham, New York Giants, was the umpire.

The first pitch baseball was signed by King George and ultimately presented to president Woodrow Wilson. There is an account of the game in the 1919 Spalding Baseball Guide.

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The London Daily Telegraph wrote:
“Nothing will give greater pleasure across the Atlantic than the appearance of the King and Queen at the baseball match at Chelsea. That mark of understanding and attention
will appeal to the heart of America far more than any military pageant or review, and the handing out of the ball by the king to the players—an act which will seem trivial and
incomprehensible to the German mind—is likely to do more toward the removal of century-old prejudice in America against the name ‘King George’ than the ablest diplomacy or
the most persuasive rhetoric.”

The London Daily Sketch memorialized the event in verse:

“King George III with cannon balls
Did try our brothers to dispatch.
King George V the country calls
To watch with him their baseball match.”

On July 4 The AP reported:
“King George saw the American Army defeated in a hard-fought baseball game today. The opponent of the army team was one picked from the American navy, which won by a
score of 2 to 1. Every one of the nine innings had its thrills."

“King George followed the game closely and enjoyed it thoroughly. At the close he turned to Admiral (William) Sims and General (John) Biddle and expressed the hope that he
might be able to see many more games before the summer was over"

“Few sporting events since the war began have aroused so much interest and discussion in London as yesterday’s game. Independence Day was on everybody’s lips…For several days the newspapers have been explaining baseball and the people of London have been pouring over the mysteries of the American national game, instinctively trying to find in it some parallel to their own cricket. Many persons went to the game armed with clippings and drawings of a diamond showing the position of the players."

“American soldiers and sailors on their way to the game were heartily cheered. Outside the entrance to the Chelsea football grounds, where the game was played, the people lined the streets for several blocks and crowded the windows"

The wire service summed up the importance of the day:
“No Country ever celebrated the national anniversary of another country as the people of Great Britain today celebrated the Fourth of July.”

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vintagesportscollector 04-13-2017 03:18 PM

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Jim Leeke wrote an excellent book all about the game.

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bgar3 04-13-2017 03:48 PM

Nice additions to your growing English baseball collection.

JustinD 04-17-2017 09:08 AM

Nice write up Joe. :)

vintagesportscollector 04-19-2017 11:20 PM

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I came across this very interesting website and project dedicated to recreating this game 100 years later, on July 4th, 2018.

...and here is a fascinating video from the project. At 0:13 you can see the exact angle from which the picture in the RPPC was taken.

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vintagesportscollector 04-20-2017 11:10 AM

Sorry to bump, but whenever I find new pieces of information about an item I picked up....I geek out.

I got in touch with Jim Leeke, who literally wrote the book on this game, and several others about war time baseball. He was excited to see the RPPC. He has seen the cropped image printed in the London Daily Mirror, but never a RPPC. A cropped version of this image ran in the Mirror newspaper in London on July 5th. The Imperial War Museum in the UK and the National Archives in the US have other photos of the July 4th game.

The Mirror did a centerfold pictorial on the game. Winston Churchill was also at the game.

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