70 years ago, the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. For many Americans, it was the first World Series they were able to watch or listen to live in a long time. The past four years they had been overseas fighting and winning World War 2. The war ended on August 14, 1945. Detroit won the series 4-3, led by slugger Hank Greenberg, who had served overseas and honorably discharged.
My friend Chicago entrepreneur Richard Duchossois was one of those guys. Here is a link to his oral history. It’s pretty chilling and compelling. He fought and was severely wounded. He survived, recuperated and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was there at the concentration camps in Germany. At the end of the war, he was a Major. He was a tank destroyer commander, and still can tell you all you need to know about how those machines worked and the battlefield strategy behind their use.
He came home. Got married. Started a family and joined a business. He became CEO in 1952 and grew the business to be a multi-billion dollar company. The lessons he learned in the military are the same lessons that he applied to building a company. He is a true treasure for the entrepreneurship community.
On Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs will remember the Greatest Generation at the game. Like they did 70 years ago, the Cubs will play the Detroit Tigers. Mr. D will throw out the first pitch. He is 94, and I hear he has been warming up his arm for a few months. There will be a lot of WW2 vets in the ballpark. We lose 800-1000 WW2 vets every day in America. A young one is 88.
If you text the number “1945” to the number “41444”, you can support the Greatest Generation and finish building the museum that remembers their service. The museum also teaches younger people about STEM, and robotics. They intertwine that teaching with the hard lessons learned during WW2 so a war like that never happens again.
When you were sitting in a foxhole, you might have been a Cubs fan, or a White Sox fan and argued over who was better. You might be with a guy from New York who loved the Yankees, Giants or Dodgers. But, when the going got tough, you didn’t care since you were both Americans, just fighting for survival. Lots and lots of baseball players left baseball to serve in WW2. Here is a list. Future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra was in the Navy, and piloted boats at Omaha Beach. Bob Feller and Ted Williams left baseball to fight for America.
You might have someone still alive in your family that’s part of this generation. I’d encourage you to watch the game with them if you can. Maybe they will open up and tell some stories about that time in history. Seeing the Cubs and Tigers on the field might jog some memories.
We have created all kinds of division in America these days. Lines and boundaries. Sometimes this faction is pitted against that faction. We argue. We fight. But, for one night, let’s all be Americans again and remember a generation that is rapidly slipping through our fingers. Text 1945 to 41444 and show your support and gratitude to a generation that is rapidly passing away from us. If you are at the game, I hope to see you there. If you can’t be there, watch it on ESPN. It will be special.