Top of page

Exhibition Baseball Americana

Bain News Service. YMCA Recreation Hut in France—Soldier’s Ball Game, ca. 1917–1918. Reproduction. George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (107.00.00)

Doughboys on the Diamond

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the American Expeditionary Force was equipped for both combat and competition. The average soldier, on disembarking in Saint-Nazaire, France, was greeted by the sight of seventy-seven newly created baseball diamonds meant to keep morale up and servicemen out of trouble. Teams represented various units, such as engineering, medical, and transport, and on any given day some 200 games were played throughout the country.