SIU Department Name | Page Title

siu logo siupress logo

SIU logo


Main Content Area

Stars Are Back

Stars Are Back

The St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox, and Player Unrest in 1946

Add to Cart

Jerome M. Mileur


E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
37 illustrations


Additional Materials

About the Book

In 1946, as the aftershocks of World War II still trembled across the globe, America returned to its favorite pastime: baseball. In The Stars Are Back, Jerome M. Mileur offers a fascinating account of this storied season and of the backstage battle that would forever transform the game of professional baseball. Mileur begins with one of the most famous clashes in major league history: the neck-and-neck race to the National League pennant between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers. As these two iconic teams engaged in a bitter struggle leading to the first-ever playoff to determine the winner of the National League pennant, the Boston Red Sox blazed a trail to the top of the American League to face the Cardinals in the World’s Series, as it was then called.

But while the nation was riveted by the return of its beloved baseball heroes, the game behind the scenes was just as dramatic. As the threat of unionization loomed and the Mexican League continued to lure players away from the United States with lucrative contracts, tensions between players and team owners mounted. The result was a standoff for control of the game that would culminate in the Magna Carta of baseball and the creation of standard contracts for players, ushering in the modern era of baseball.

Set against the backdrop of a country recovering from war, facing the new adversary of Communism, and absorbing the emotional impact of the atomic bomb, The Stars Are Back tells the story of a nation hungry for a return to normalcy and a game poised on the brink of new horizons.


Jerome M. Mileur is emeritus professor in the political science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he taught American politics.  A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he is author or coeditor of nine books, including High-Flying Birds about the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals.  The former owner of a minor league baseball team, he coordinated a one-year interdisciplinary course on race in American life timed with the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League baseball.


The Stars Are Back details the story of two very different teams having two very different seasons as they fought their way to a thrilling seven-game World’s Series. We learn about the Red Sox and Cardinals players and about the changes in baseball and American life that came with the end of World War II. This book was all I hoped it would be.”—Bill Nowlin, author of Mr. Red Sox: The Johnny Pesky Story and Ted Williams: The Pursuit of Perfection 

“In the first post–World War II season, with their greatest players Stan Musial and Ted Williams back, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox squared off in a dramatic seven-game World’s Series. But the season was more than a summer of great baseball; it portended changes to come as the modern era of major league baseball emerged. The Stars are Back tells this story in a compelling, artful, and insightful manner.”—Roger D. Launius, Smithsonian Institution, coauthor of Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman

“Mileur weaves the story of baseball’s first postwar season into the fabric of social and economic change following World War II to provide an account that reaches beyond the game itself. Neither baseball nor America was the same after 1946.”—Dr. Ronald Story, author of A Concise Historical Atlas of World War II and The Rise of American Conservatism, 1945–2000.

“Ted Williams and Stan Musial were back from war. Jackie Robinson was tearing up the minor leagues. The Cold War loomed. The Nuremberg verdicts were announced. Major leaguers were upset with the owners, and some jumped to the Mexican League. That was the setting when the underdog Cardinals took on the heavily favored Red Sox in the 1946 World’s Series. Jerome M. Mileur, who heard the games over the radio in his Murphysboro, Illlinois, boyhood home, re-creates the exciting 1946 pennant race and the political events surrounding it. This book is a fascinating look back at an almost forgotten moment in baseball and national history.”—William H. Freivogel, director of the Southern Illinois University School of Journalism and a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor