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The Cloudbuster Nine
Cover of The Cloudbuster Nine
The Cloudbuster Nine
The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II
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In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year?s World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy followed his baseball dreams as a college All-American, but was crushed later in life by a failed major-league bid with the Detroit Tigers. He would have carried this story to his grave had Anne not discovered his scrapbook from a Navy school that shaped America's greatest heroes including George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, and Paul "Bear" Bryant. With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time in The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team Who Helped Win World War II.
In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year?s World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy followed his baseball dreams as a college All-American, but was crushed later in life by a failed major-league bid with the Detroit Tigers. He would have carried this story to his grave had Anne not discovered his scrapbook from a Navy school that shaped America's greatest heroes including George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, and Paul "Bear" Bryant. With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time in The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team Who Helped Win World War II.
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About the Author-
  • Anne R. Keene is an Austin, Texas-based writer who focuses on narrative nonfiction. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism, she began her professional career working as a speechwriter on Capitol Hill. Today, she earns national awards as a storyteller for corporate clients, and has been honored with the Writers' League of Texas nonfiction award. Passionate about historic preservation and athletics, Anne is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. She is married and has a teenage daughter.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2018
    A thoroughly researched but somewhat cluttered account of Ted Williams and other professional baseball players who enlisted in the military in World War II and also managed to play some baseball.In her debut, Keene, a trained journalist and former Capitol Hill speechwriter, recounts how she stumbled across this story in 2013 when, going through some things that had belonged to her late father, a former minor leaguer and lifelong baseball fan, she found materials relating to the Cloudbuster Nine. Her father had been the batboy for this Navy team undergoing their preflight training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a team that featured, among others, Red Sox standouts Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky. But the author has more than one story to tell (despite the focus suggested by her subtitle). She narrates the sad arc of her father's baseball biography, the development of the preflight training regimen, the lives of many others involved in the program, her own immersion in the sport (which came much later in her life), her research, and her interviews of some elderly sources and some descendants of her principals. Her research is exhaustive and impressive, but the work suffers from all her work, as well. It appears that Keene struggled with what she needed to include or exclude. As a result, the narrative continually takes offramps to stories and facts the author unearthed, information which, though sometimes interesting, often serves as a distraction. Keene also often employs conventional and even clichéd expressions--e.g., "an unshakable bond," "fit him like a glove." Still, the story she has found is historically significant, and she does not neglect the fact that many professional athletes enlisted in the military and that very few do so today.An important story enriched by solid research and authorial commitment but weakened by excess.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • LANCE SMITH, The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books blog "This book should be read by anyone who enjoys reading about baseball, military stories, World War II history--or even just good stories. It is truly a wonderful piece of work."
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The Cloudbuster Nine
The Cloudbuster Nine
The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II
Anne R. Keene
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