We want to thank all the Major League teams who have been keeping the Spirit of '45 alive each year since 2010.
Thanks to the leadership of the late Jerry Coleman, since Spirit of '45 Day was unanimously passed by the US Congress in 2010, virtually all MLB clubs have been having an observance each year during their home games played in August.
Coleman was the only MLB player to have served in combat in WWII and the Korean War, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses for his 150 missions as a Marine pilot in the Pacific Theater. Coleman, who played second base for the legendary New York Yankees in the late '40's and early '50's and was the MVP of the 1950 World Series, was a major factor in getting the Spirit of '45 Day movement started while he was an announcer for the San Diego Padres.
Professional baseball played an essential role during World War II. Many players left their bats and gloves behind to serve on the battlefield, including Cleveland Indians pitching sensation Bob Feller. New teams, including Women’s and African American teams, were created to keep baseball in play and to give the weary home front workers a place to go to ease their minds during those very stressful wartime years. Baseball was also a popular pastime for the troops throughout the war years.
Today, baseball continues its tradition of being the place that brings Americans together in shared community. As the teams honor the "greatest generation" and baseball's own proud WWII heritage, we thank them for honoring all veterans and continue to provide a Spirit of community for our nation.
Eighteen teams held commemorations to honor Spirit of ’45 Day featuring a public service announcement by Dr. Roscoe Brown, the legendary Tuskegee Airman who was the chief consultant to George Lucas on his movie "Redtails."
Participating MLB clubs have engaged their creative teams to make their commemorations even more memorable in their efforts to honor the men and women of the WWII generation of their communities. Several of the clubs invited WWII veterans to be honored on the field during their games.
The Miami Marlins produced a 15-minute tribute to the Greatest Generation and their Greatest Day that was shown on multiple screens in their brand new ball park.
The San Jose Giants became the first Minor League Baseball team to observe National Spirit of '45 Day. The Giants held a full blown Spirit of ’45 Day on August 12th that was sponsored by CareMore and Dignity Memorial, including military vehicles on display, extensive WWII displays, re-enactors dancing and end of game fireworks. The opening pitch was thrown in by John Beahrs, an Iwo Jima Survivor, father of one of the co-owners of the team. We look forward to welcoming many more of the minor league teams to join us in 2013.
"The event last night was terrific. 4,000 people attended the game and my Dad was thrilled with the whole thing. We met some wonderful veterans... Congratulations for all that you did and thanks from the Beahrs family…." Dick Beahrs