The three way game played on June 26, 1944 was set up to support the war effort with an unusual exhibition game played by the Yankees, Dodgers, and the Giants at the Polo Grounds. Presented by the War Bond Sports committee in connection with the Fifth War Loan. The First War Loan began on November 30, 1942. The Fifth War Loan was the largest of the eight, and by its conclusion on July 8, 1944, $20.6 billion had been raised. $56.5 million contributed by the Tri-Cornered game at the Polo Grounds.
The crowd of 50,000 contributes $5.5 million to attend, while the Bond Clothing Co. pays $1 million in bonds for an autographed program. The overwhelming majority of the money comes from the city of New York, with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia purchasing $50 million worth of bonds.
The three-cornered baseball game started with Hitting, running, and throwing contests. In between contests, Al Schacht, the Clown Prince of Baseball, entertained the crowd of 50,000, and admission to the game was by purchase of series E, F, and G war bonds. The 40,000 general admission unreserved seats cost one $25 war bond; the 5,809 reserved seats in the lower stands went for a $100 bond; the box seats both upper and lower cost the fan a $1,000 war bond. Bleacher seats were free to servicemen.
Between the Contests and the game took center stage at second base where radio and movie comedian Milton Berle “boisterously ushered in” a series of musical numbers. Then former Mayor James J. Walker took charge as master of ceremonies to introduce some New York baseball oldtimers: Zack Wheat, Nap Rucker and Otto Miller of the Dodgers; the Giants’ Roger Bresnahan, George (Hooks) Wiltse, and Moose McCormick; the Yankees’ Wally Schang, Herb Pennock, and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Bill Dickey.
Giants vs Dodgers vs Yankees – The setup for a three-way nine inning game was simple: The Dodgers and Yankees played the first inning while the Giants sat out; the Dodgers and Giants played the second inning while the Yankees sat out; the Yankees and Giants played the third inning while the Dodgers sat out. The same order continued to the game’s end.
Fifth War Bond
This is a 1944 Dodgers Yankees Giants Tri-Cornered Baseball Game Polo Grounds Fifth War Loan Program. The glossy 16 page, black & white program was issued by the War Bond Sports committee. Listed in the program’s centerfold rosters are the following Hall of Fame members: Dodgers Paul Waner and Leo Durocher, Giants Joe Medwick, Mel Ott and Ernie Lombardi, Yankees Joe McCarthy and Umpire Jocko Conlan. Many other stars of the time are also listed: Dixie Walker, Ed Stanky, Ralph Branca, Howie Schultz, Whit Wyatt, Augie Galan, Billy Jurges, Gus Mancuso, Buddy Kerr, Johnny Allen, George Stirnweiss, Hank Borowy, Joe Page.