Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Green Light Letter by FDR

The Green Light Letter was a letter dated January 15, 1942, that was written by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and addressed to Judge Landis, the baseball commissioner.

The letter encourages baseball and its owners to continue playing during WWII.  Landis was concerned by a shortage of players as many men were in the service.

The letter gave baseball the green light to continue games not just to employ several thousand young men and players but to provide a diversion and recreation to millions of Americans.

My dear Judge:

Thank you for yours of January fourtheenth. As you will, of course, realize the final decision about the baseball season must rest with you and the Baseball club owners- so what I am going to say is solely a personal and not an official point of view.

I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before.

And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.

Baseball provides a recreation which does not last over two hours or two hours and and half, and which can be got for very little cost. And, incidentally, I hope that night games can be extended because  it gives an opportunity  to the day shift to see a game occasionally.

As to the players themselves, I know you agree with me that the individual players who are active military or naval age should go, without question, into the services. Even if the actual quality to theteams is lowered by the greater use of older players, this will not dampen the popularity of the sport. Of course, if an individual has some particular aptitude in a trade or profession, he ought to serve the Government. That, however, is a matter which I know you can handle with complete justice.

Here is another way of looking at it- if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of the fellow citizens - and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.

(thanks to

Kevin Marquez