Not even world war could stop baseball. Major-league games continued, and major-league service members played for military teams at home, abroad and even, if necessary, on aircraft carriers at sea. One of the biggest baseball hubs was the Naval Training Station in Norfolk, VA, where the NTS Bluejackets quickly transitioned from their past amateur status to being an all-star caliber team. With Bob Feller in 1942, the Bluejackets amassed a dominant 92-8 record. Then came a new crop of players in 1943, including Phil Rizzuto and Dom DiMaggio.
Offered here is major leaguer Don Padgett's official photo album, which begins with an introductory letter from the commanding officer, Captain McClure, reading, in part, "This album will serve as a reminder of the 1943 baseball season which you have helped to make one of the most successful in the history of Navy athletics...You have entertained approximately a quarter million service men...Baseball, distinctly our American national pastime, has again proven its worth in building morale in the Navy." There is an 8x10 studio photo of Padgett in navy garb (credited to famed photographer George Burke no less!) followed by 8x10 photos of the 1942 NTS team (w/Feller), 1943 NTS team (hand-captioned in ink), 1943 Naval Air Station team (w/Pee Wee Reese), Clark Griffith/Ossie Bluege, Eddie Robinson, Clark Griffith, NTS Stadium, Fred Hutchinson (2), Phil Rizzuto/Hugh Casey, Charlie Wagner/Dom DiMaggio, Dom DiMaggio/Phil Rizzuto/Kate Smith, Don Padgett/Dom DiMaggio, Eddie Robinson/Benny McCoy/Phil Rizzuto/Jeff Cross and more. Just the trio of rare team photos alone hold decent value! Plus there are stat pages for the 1943 Bluejackets game-by-game record and the 1943 Navy World Series. Measuring 10x11x2, the deluxe three-ring album has Padgett's name embossed on the front cover and rates VG overall with EX photos. A fascinating documentation of wartime baseball history!