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There was also World War I, which blackened everything, including the national pastime. Veterans who survived often came home maimed or shell-shocked from encounters with modern warfare's first mechanized mass-killing machines. The war strained the economy and the workforce, including baseball's.The government began drafting major leaguers for military service that summer and ordered baseball to end the regular season by Labor Day.
THE FIRST THING to remember is that it's a battle song.
After 1918, they would serve as symbols of futility; neither won a title for the rest of the century.
But at the time, the Cubs were so highly regarded that their World Series home was not Wrigley Field (then Weeghman Park), which seated only 14,000 fans; the National League champs instead rented out the White Sox's Comiskey Park, which accommodated about 30,000. had entered the war 17 months earlier, and in that time some 100,000 American soldiers died.
But Thomas' months of military training had hardly dulled his diamond skills.
According to the Society of American Baseball Research, the station's commander, Capt.
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Hatched during one war, institutionalized during another, this song has become so entrenched in our sports identity that it's almost impossible to think of one without the other. And when the nation collectively decided to right itself, to acknowledge tragedy while reclaiming everyday life, it turned to sports -- and to the anthem.