From the Dugouts to the Trenches

From the Dugouts to the Trenches

Baseball during the Great War

Jim Leeke

272 pages
32 photographs, index


May 2017


$32.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Baseball, like the rest of the country, changed dramatically when the United States entered World War I, and Jim Leeke brings these changes to life in From the Dugouts to the Trenches. He deftly describes how the war obliterated big league clubs and largely dismantled the Minor Leagues, as many prominent players joined the military and went overseas. By the war’s end more than 1,250 ballplayers, team owners, and sportswriters would serve, demonstrating that while the war was “over there,” it had a considerable impact on the national pastime. 

Leeke tells the stories of those who served, as well as organized baseball’s response, including its generosity and patriotism. He weaves into his narrative the story of African American players who were barred from the Major Leagues but who nevertheless swapped their jerseys for fatigues, as well as the stories of those who were killed in action—and by diseases or accidents—and what their deaths meant to teammates, fans, and the sport in general.

From the Dugouts to the Trenches illuminates this influential and fascinating period in baseball history, as nineteen months of upheaval and turmoil changed the sport—and the world—forever.

Author Bio

Jim Leeke, a former news journalist and U.S. Navy veteran, has covered Major League Baseball for a Northern California suburban daily. He is the author of several books, including Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball, July 4, 1918 and Ballplayers in the Great War: Newspaper Accounts of Major Leaguers in World War I Military Service.


"From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball During the Great War would make a fine acquisition for any public library, no matter how small."—G. Louis Heath, ARETE

"To be sure, the Great War has been written about extensively, but this project takes a hanging curveball and knocks it out of the park."—Matt Sutherland, Foreword

"Equal parts baseball, business and military history. Readers who enjoy any of these topics will enjoy reading this book."—Guy Who Reviews Sports Books

"From Dugouts to the Trenches is a wonderful complement to Leeke's previous two books on baseball and World War I. It will be a fine addition to the library of baseball enthusiasts and students of the American experience in the Great War."—Edward Thomas, Roads to the Great War blog

"The most important aspect of Jim Leeke's hardcover book From the Dugout to the Trenches is the story it tells of baseball's involvement in World War I. . . . Devoted baseball fans will take considerable pride in understanding the depth of involvement since the sport played such a pivotal role in American society."—Bob Wirz, Inside Game

“Once again Jim Leeke gives us kids in the grandstands our fifty cents’ worth. From the Dugouts to the Trenches has the reader tugging Jim’s jersey and begging, ‘Say, mister. Got any more of them swell stories?’”—Dean Karayanis, radio host of the History Author Show in New York City

“A first-rate contribution to baseball and Great War scholarship.”—Mitchell Yockelson, author of Forty-Seven Days: How Pershing’s Warrior’s Came of Age to Defeat the German Army in World War I

“Leeke’s trenchant look at baseball during the Great War describes grandees, players, and journalists struggling to find a footing in the suddenly hobbled game. Meanwhile, their colleagues overseas witness the grim dawn of the modern world. Riveting and insightful.”—L. M. Sutter, author of Arlie Latham: A Baseball Biography of the Freshest Man on Earth

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Sergeants
2. Selective Service
3. Buildup
4. Winter
5. Spring
6. New Season
7. Work or Fight
8. Calibers
9. World Series
10. Strain of Battle
11. Armistice

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