Lost Advertisements–“Over There, Over Here”

27 May

spaldingwwi

An advertisement for A. G. Spalding & Bros. that appeared during the opening weeks of the 1919 season; the first post-World War I:

“Over There” “Over Here”

“The Spalding Official Ball opens the forty-second consecutive year season for the forty-second consecutive year.”

“The Ball Played Round the World.”

Spalding Official National League Ball, circa 1919

Spalding Official National League Ball, circa 1919

Hundreds of Spalding balls went to troops “Over there” during the war through Washington Senators Manager Clark Griffith‘s “Ball and Bat Fund.”  The fund raised money throughout the country–including a donation from President Woodrow Wilson–and used it to purchase baseball equipment for servicemen.  In his final report for the fund, published in 1919, Griffith said Spalding and other “sporting goods houses” were “very patriotic, selling me goods for cost or even less.”

Clark Griffith presents a box of baseballs to US Army officers, 1917

Clark Griffith presents a box of baseballs to US Army officers, 1917

The 1919 “Spalding Guide,” said more than $102,000 was raised by the fund and:

“Wonderful good was done…even though the Huns did sink the Kansan (the Kansan was a merchant vessel sunk near Belle Ile, off the Brittany Coast of France)  with its load of equipment for the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force.  The moment the news reached the United states, other equipment was provided as quickly as possible and dispatched on its way to France.”

 

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