In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year's World Series, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina.
They and other past and future stars formed one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. They 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 That Helped Win World War II.