W. Eugene Smith, [Jano Cardillo, age 9, missing for the third strike], ca. 1940
W. Eugene Smith, [Herman Stegos, age 11, hitting a home run over the fence], ca. 1940
W. Eugene Smith, [“Pap” Lettieri, 10, “Chinky” Leone, 10, Italo Ablondi, 10 and Salvo Visioni, 10, pitching candidates at the top of their windup], ca. 1940
In 1940 these sandlot kids may have had the opportunity to see some of the first televised baseball games. Among the major events of the baseball season, they would have witnessed the National League (actually) defeat the American League (4-0) in an All-Star Game played at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis and the Cincinnati Reds defeat the Detroit Tigers (2-1) to win the World Series. Undoubtedly they would have been huge fans of Yankee Joe Dimaggio, who would win the batting title that year with a .352 batting average. Despite Dimaggio’s hitting, the Yankees would only finish third in the American League with a record of 88-66. The Brooklyn Dodgers finished 2nd in the National League with a 88-65 record while the New York Giants would end the season in sixth place at 72-80.