Lost Advertisements–“Play Ball!”

4 Apr


Opening Day at Comiskey Park, 1919, the first opener after the end of World War I:

The ad above appeared in Chicago Newspapers on May 1, 1919, and appealed to the patriotism of fans:

“Uncle Sam and his baseball teams march triumphantly home after 2 years in Europe.

“The Doughboy and his bat were inseparable.  Hardly a transport went across the seas without its full quota of baseball paraphernalia.  Uncle Sam knew his business.  Think of the thousands of men raised on baseball from their sandlot days up to Comiskey Park and then hammering out the ball over the meadows of England and France as part of their training.  Think of the renewed energy and vitality they plucked from the ball field to spend on the battlefield.  Baseball furnished the relaxation when they came back from the battle lines after days and nights of gruelling trench life.  Baseball was a big inspiration to the American Army.

“Today, in the largest and greatest ballpark in the world, the National Game opens up at home, where once again the magic words ‘Play Ball’ make you lose your cares and troubles and help you store up energy for bigger and better business.  Come out to the battlefield of baseball and fill your lungs with fresh air and put new life and vim into your blood and muscles.

“Remember the good old pre-war days when the teams were playing their best.  Today they are back again with the men in perfect condition.”

As for the “greatest ballpark in the world,” the ad said:

“Comiskey Park is the largest and most magnificent baseball park in the world.  With 35,000 comfortable seats, innumerable wide aisles and exits, it is a vast amphitheatre of concrete and steel, and is the acme of luxury and comfort.”

Patriotic fervor and “men in perfect condition” were no match for the weather, or perhaps as a metaphor for what was to come, dark clouds brought rain and postponed the game between the White Sox and the St. Louis Browns.

The 1919 White Sox

The 1919 White Sox



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