By People Staff
July 03, 1978 12:00 PM

by William B. Mead

With as many as 384 major leaguers in the military during World War II (among them, Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller and Ted Williams), the players left were usually too old or too unfit to serve—or, for that matter, to play. In his anecdotal history of that period, Mead recalls everything from wartime shortages (Cracker Jack couldn’t import prizes from Japan) to stadium dimouts to a wooden-legged pitcher named Bert Shepard. His fondest memories, though, are of the hapless St. Louis Browns, who made the 1944 World Series mainly because they had so many 4-F players. Their moment of glory ended at the hands of the Cardinals in the classic “Streetcar Series” in Sportsman’s Park. When the war ended, the Brownies reverted to dismal form, and in 1953 they moved to Baltimore. A word of caution: This book is, with at least some copies, so shoddily bound it tends, like the Browns, to fall apart under the slightest pressure. (Contemporary Books, $8.95)