world war two

Courtesy of the Gianunzio Family

For Independence Day, we have a rebroadcast of an "All-American" story. Tony Gianunzio of Kalamazoo shares his story of a baseball career put on hold by service in World War II. And how he finally made it to the pitcher's mound at Wrigley Field 73 years later. 


Back in the 1940s, when men headed off to fight in World War II, Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley created something totally new: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Teams stretched across the Midwest, from Racine, Wis., to Kalamazoo. At its peak, the league brought in almost one million fans per year. It also inspired the 1992 movie, “A League of Their Own”, best-known for the now-famous line, "There's no crying in baseball!"


Courtesy of the Gianunzio Family

If not for a change in the draft age for World War II Tony Gianunzio might have been on the pitcher’s mound at Wrigley Field 73 years earlier. 


Lake Michigan is famous for its shipwrecks, but at one time, it also held more than one hundred sunken World War II fighter planes. During the war, the United States Navy needed pilots who could take off from aircraft carriers on the Pacific Ocean and attack Japanese fighters. So, over the course of three years, more than 15,000 pilots went through aircraft carrier training on Lake Michigan - including former President George H.W. Bush. 

John Lacko

February 5th is opening night for A Soldier’s Play at Western Michigan University. The Pulitzer Prize winning work by Charles Fuller premiered Off-Broadway in 1981 - starring famous cast members like Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. At its heart, the play a classic “Whodunnit” about an army sergeant’s mysterious murder. But it’s also about racial tensions among African American soldiers during World War II.


Pages