All-Star Game Replaced with Exhibition in 1945

Although Major League Baseball was regarded as necessary for national morale in President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “Green Light Letter,” by 1945, wartime restrictions had taken their toll. The Office of Defense Transportation asked Major League Baseball to reduce travel by at least 25 percent.

At the time, Major League Baseball teams were no farther south or west than St. Louis, and the powers that be ordered that spring training could be held no farther south than the Potomac or Ohio rivers, and no farther west than the Mississippi. The Indians held spring training at Purdue University from 1943-1945.

But that wasn’t enough, so for the first time in its history, the Major League All-Star Game was canceled, after meetings in Cleveland in April 1945. National League President (and future commissioner) Ford Frick said the cancellation of the game scheduled for Fenway Park would lead to a decrease of 500,000 passenger miles. As a consolation, Fenway Park would be the site of the 1946 Mid-Summer Classic.

In its place would be a series of interleague exhibitions, including a game pitting the Indians against their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, on July 9, 1945, at Cleveland Stadium. Also being played that night were a pair of crosstown rivalries, between the Cubs and White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago, and the Yankees and Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The Pirates, who were scheduled to play the Tigers in an exhibition at Forbes Field, played a military team that night at Fort Indiantown Gap.

Reds manager Bill McKechnie didn’t show up for the exhibition in Cleveland, leaving managerial duties to Gerald Walker – a former Cleveland infielder. Four Indians starters sat the game out: Felix Mackiewicz, Mickey Rocco, Don Ross and Frank Hales. The game was a rout, with the Indians managing just six hits, half of which came off the bat of Dutch Meyer, in a 6-0 shutout.

Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau submitted three players for consideration for the Associated Press All-Star Team: Pitchers Allie Reynolds and Steve Gromek, and catcher Frank Hayes. Ultimately, Boudreau and outfielder Jeff Heath were also named to the AP American League team. It was the only All-Star recognition ever for Gromek, who went 19-9 that year, the most wins he ever had in a season.

A paltry crowd of 6,066 people showed up at Cleveland Stadium. By contrast, more than 47,000 people watched the White Sox edge the Cubs, 5-4, and more than 41,000 saw the Yankees beat the Giants 7-1.

Related Posts

Barker’s Perfect Game in 1981 Remains Last No-No for Tribe

Today we remember Len Barker’s perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, the last hitless game tossed by an Indians pitcher. This story was originally…

Caldwell Gave an Electrifying Performance on the Mound for the Tribe in 1919

On the anniversary of a bizarre event in baseball history, Did The Tribe Win Last Night shares a story originally posted on August 24, 2016, by guest…

Carl Mays: My Attitude Toward the Unfortunate Chapman Matter

We continue our look back on the death of Ray Chapman on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. This supplemental interview appeared in the November 1920 issue…

League, City Plunged into Mourning after Chapman’s Death

This story was originally published on December 26, 2014, as part of a series of stories by Did The Tribe Win Last Night’s Vince Guerrieri on the…

Tragedy Struck Tribe with Chapman Beaning

This weekend marked the anniversary of a tragic event thankfully never replicated on a Major League field. This story of the death of Ray Chapman was originally…

Don’t Call It A Comeback!

Today’s trip down memory lane takes us back to a story published on August 5, 2011, in the infancy stages of the Did The Tribe Win Last…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.