A Day of Infamous Repute
May 30, 2016
A. G. Spalding & Bros. (Spalding) played a significant role in WWII by dedicating 90% of their output towards the war effort. “Factories and machines were altered to produce military hardware and golf club steel went into shells and rifles. Spalding was prohibited from making golf clubs as the steel required to complete one set would provide enough steel for 30 hand grenades. Spalding also helped to produce Browning automatic rifles, gas masks, tank helmets and much more. Between 1942 and 1945 Spalding was the recipient of six Army – Navy “E” awards.”1 “E” awards were presented for excellence in the production of war equipment by a company.
Now, when I think of the artifacts that I acquired that day at the show, my thoughts aren’t focused on the Giants jersey, the photo, sweater or even the artwork, but on the realization that on the day Mr. Mullin was referring to in his cartoon, most Americans would be shocked to learn that a foreign power, motivated by evil intent had invaded our peaceful shores.
While Willard Mullin certainly isn’t as well known as the comic artists of today, and Nello “Flash” Falaschi isn’t as famous as “Flash Gordon,” because of the fact that he gave up a career in the NFL to fight for our country he’s definitely a super hero!
Footnote: Cartoonist Willard Mullin would produce a series of promotional comic books for Spalding entitled, “The Spalding Sports Show” between 1945 and 1952 and his art was also featured in an assortment of Spalding promotional dealer displays.
Lauren Olivia Parmenter
A NOTE FROM ANTIQUEFOOTBALL
Spalding Sports Show for 1948, Illustrated by Willard Mullin
Dryer, Stephen J., Spalding A Company History, Ma. 02/26/1993
Click for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's honor role of the 994 NFL personnel to have served in the military during World War II