Game 2: The men who would teach me about sports get the bad news

New York football Giants vs. Brooklyn football Dodgers
Polo Grounds, New York City
December 7, 1941
Program: Giants vs. Dodgers, December 7, 1941

The Giants were honoring their star tailback, Tuffy Leemans, on this fateful day and my father and both my uncles, both named Bill, were there, and understood something big was happening when the public address announcer told all servicemen in attendance that they were to report back immediately to their duty stations. This was long before the existence of portable radios, let alone cell phones, but in time, word filtered through the crowd that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese. At home, my mother and my dad’s two sisters began to cry as they heard the news of the attack on the radio, and, I, two months and one day old, soon joined in, I am told.

Giants vs. Dodgers, December 7, 1941

Both uncles would in time be drafted into the service—one with the Navy onboard a minesweeper in the Pacific Theater, the other in the Army infantry in Europe. Dad at his draft physical was found to have had TB, and was declared 4F. My family was one of the lucky ones; both my uncles returned unhurt, and they and my dad became my first guides into the world of sports.


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