#Hot Corner

Hot Corner Book Club - After WW2 the Big One

With the end of World War II in the European Theater of Operations, the brass was looking for ways to entertain the many thousands of idle troops, and somebody came up with the idea for a baseball tournament, with teams representing most Army divisions playing in Nuremberg's Hitler Youth Stadium. The 71st Division topped all the Germany-based teams, setting up a so-called ETO World Series in September of 1945. From Robert Weintraub's intriguing new book:

Their French-based opponent, the clumsily named Overseas Invasion Service Expedition (OISE) All-Stars, was a ragtag outfit, made up mostly of semi-pro players, picked from the relatively few units that hadn’t moved on to Germany or back to England. Their lone “name” player was the France-based equivalent of Walker, a journeyman pitcher named Sam Nahem. He had only a fraction of the manpower Walker could draw upon for his team, which was thus a huge underdog to the Third Army juggernaut. OISE did have two secret weapons, however, one a slugging outfielder and the other a dominant pitcher. They were a secret to most of the white men in attendance because as of September 1945, Major League Baseball hadn’t yet integrated.

Those two secret weapons? Brilliant Negro League players Willard Brown and future Hall of Famer Leon Day. Thanks largely to Brown and Day, the OISE beat the 71st in five games to capture the ETO Championship.

But the name that really caught my eye was that of Sam Nahem. For some reason that name was familiar to me ... and I quickly realized why. When researching this book, I called Nahem. I don't know why I called him, because he pitched only 224 innings in the major leagues. We've got other pitchers in the book who fell short of our cutoffs for inclusion, but usually just when those pitchers' information was easily found, or when they did something particularly notable.

But for some reason I called Nahem, and he told me he threw submarine-style against right-handed hitters, mostly sliders and fastballs, and overhand against left-handed hitters, mostly curves and fastballs. Sam Nahem once told another interviewer, "I often wish that God had given me movement on my fastball, but He didn't."

I wish I'd done more work before I talked to Sam Nahem, as I knew nothing about the ETO Championship of 1945 until just now. I spoke to Nahem early in 2004; just a few months later, the book was published and Nahem passed away.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.