Jumpin’ Jimminy – A World War II Baseball Saga

American flyboys and Japanese submariners battle it out in a Swedish World Series

A novel by Robert Skole

When the Jumpin' Jimminy -- a Flying Fortress shot up in a raid over Nazi Germany -- crash lands in neutral Sweden in the autumn of 1944, its crew couldn't dream they would wind up playing a World Series. Especially a Series against tough enemy Japanese sailors from a submarine that went aground on Sweden's rocky coast.

The Jumpin' Jimminy crew, the best ball team in the Eighth Air Force, is a heaven-sent gift to the baseball-crazy Swedish Major responsible for American internees.

The Japanese have made meatballs of the Major's amateur Swedish ball players. Now, he can field a hard-hitting, determined American team to battle the Japanese in a Swedish World Series..

Waiting for Spring training, the Yanks get "essential" jobs. Two carry out daring undercover assignments for the OSS. The team's shortstop, the only black GI assigned to a U.S. bomber crew, speaks fluent Swedish which he learned working for Swedes in Chicago. He helps his Swedish moonshining "cousins" create Sweden's absolutely greatest akvavit. And the other Yanks valiantly help the Allied war effort in the cold, grim, oasis of peaceful Swedish neutrality.

And then it's Spring of 1945 and "Play Ball" in the first and only Swedish World Series.

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" 'Jumpin' Jimminy - A World War II Baseball Saga'…
is a real charmer, a tale told about American flyboys and Japanese submariners who battle it out in a Swedish World Series. Skole, a reporter and foreign correspondent, covered Sweden for McGraw-Hill business publications for many years and that is probably where this unique idea for a book germinated. It is a delightful read. "

--- Harvey Frommer, in Frommer SportsNet, Book Review, Syndicated 01/04/2004

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“A great, old-fashioned American yarn! I just finished reading Jumpin' Jimminy and enjoyed it immensely. It is a great, old-fashioned American yarn populated with larger than life characters.  Skole tells a great story and this book promises a rollicking and relaxing evening or two between its covers. I dare anyone to read Jumpin' Jimminy and not conclude, as I did, that this would make a great, very funny movie.”

--Paul Dickson, the author of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary; The Hidden  Language of Baseball; Baseball's Greatest Quotations; Baseball: The Presidents' Game; and other sports, history and language books.


Japanese, Americans and Baseball in Sweden in WWII 

"You are not going to read another book like this one in your lifetime."

I never gave any thought about what
Sweden’s role in WWII was. I certainly had no idea that so many of our bomber crews ended up interned there during the war. In Robert Skole’s book,  “Jumpin JimminyA World War II Baseball Saga: American Flyboys And Japanese Submariners Battle It Out In A Swedish World Series” you will get a look, however improvable, at the life of a crew of American B-17 that ends up in Sweden.

In the book’s Prologue, the author gives the reader some interesting facts and a look about what happened to those American and British bombers that could not make it back to
England and who headed north to neutral Sweden. According to the book, just in 1944 alone, a total of 119 American bombers showed up in Sweden because of fuel shortages, battle damages or just mechanical problems. The crews were not exactly POWS and some were even housed in hotels, private homes and boarding houses. They were given money to buy civilian clothing and a little extra allotment for their personal needs. They could even wander around and visit friends and tour the country or work if they wanted. Not exactly a life of a captured POW.

It is from this understanding that the reader accepts the premise of this delightful WWII tale about baseball and war.
The crew of the Jumpin' Jimminy who happened to crash land their B-17, are welcomed with open arms in Sweden, not just because they are Americans; but because they also happen to be the best baseball team in the Eighth Air Force.

However, they are not the only crew that has great ball players in
Sweden. There is this Japanese submariner crew that has been kicking the butt of the local Swedish teams. The Swedish Major in charge of the internees thinks the addition of these new American’s is truly God sent and he has plans for them that does not involve the outcome of warbut baseball!

The Americans take advantage of their situation and hook up with the
OSS and carry on some covert activities. However, the real flavor of this story rests with the very fertile imagination of the writer. He builds his characters around this plot and gives them all substance and life. The dialogs work very well and the combination of plot and character development brings all these literary ingredients together for one very entertaining book. You are not going to read another book like this one in your lifetime. It is irreverent and humorous and it is a nice way to spend a couple of leisure hours forgetting about all the stresses of the real world.

-- Bill McDonald, President, Military Writers Society of



"A fun read"

If you are looking for a feel-good, somewhat improbable, and nostalgic read, search no further. Jumpin' Jimminy meets all those criteria and more. During World War II, when American bombers could not make it back to England following a raid to Germany, they often headed for neutral Sweden. In 1944, a total of 119 of these B-17s made it to Sweden. American fighters that landed in Sweden were officially interned but allowed quite a bit of freedom—to do more or less anything they wanted.

Based on these facts, Skole creates the fictitious tale of an American bomber crew composed of some of the best baseball players in the European theater. Led by a Boston Brahmin, this ragtag bunch is stuck in Sweden when a Swedish Major Karlsson informs them that a Japanese submarine crew is in similar straights—can play much better than any local team—and looking for a game. The result is a convoluted and amusing tale of keeping the Americans in Sweden long enough to arrange a “World Series” against the Japanese crew members that had run aground on the Swedish coast. They have to wait until spring so in the intervening time they get jobs, mix with locals, and prepare for the Series. A fun read.

  --- www.JapanVisitor.com  


“Jumpin' Jimminy is a blast! -- Robert Skole's latest book shows serious potential to become a sports and World War II cult classic. The author's take on little-known Swedish-American-Japanese trivia and culture comes through loud and clear. In short, Jumpin' Jimminy should be required reading for all sports and World War II history fans. I chortled gleefully from Chapter One up to the touching and unexpected epilogue. When it comes to telling 'The Greatest Generation' story, Robert Skole makes a most entertaining Greek Chorus. He sings his song well.”

 --- Harold Flagg, Florida and The Bahamas author of Roosters, Rebels and Royals.


Jumpin' Jimminy is a Hoot!

Robert Skole's improbable story of baseball and spies in World War II Sweden is as funny as they come. The very notion of American flyboys and Japanese submariners facing one another in a Swedish world series of baseball is so ludicrous that it risk comic credibility. But Skole pulls it off. Rank his humor with Max Shulman and his story-telling skill with James Thurber. Along the way he manages semi-serious digs at Sweden and its people. I expect authorities to refuse his passport if he ever tries to enter the country.

--- William Hickman, Reston, VA., Reviewed in Amazon.com

Read the story in brief and browse the book at:


Also available at www.Amazon.com

and at www.barnesandnoble.com

and in Sweden at www.adlibris.se


Robert Skole

357 Commercial St., apt 715

Boston, MA 02109


Copyright © 2004 by Robert Skole


“Jumpin’ Jimminy is well worth reading, as a reminder of how we were and how we possibly still are – as seen through wide-awake eyes.”

For Swedish readers, Anders H. Pers  reviews Jumpin’ Jimminy

Vestmanlands Läns Tidning, 31 December 2005

Festligt om fegisar.

En amerikansk journalist i Stockholm som i många år försett Business Week
och andra med nyheter om svensk industri och politik har skrivit en festlig
agentroman där han driver med den svenska utrikespolitiken under andra
världskriget. Boken har också sitt särskilda intresse för västeråsare.
     Robert Skole kom till Sverige alldeles i början av 60-talet från Tokyo där
han hade blivit god vän med utrikeskorrespondenten Håkan Hedberg. I
Stockholm byggde han upp ett kontaktnät bland välunderrättat folk i
industrin, statsförvaltningen och den politiska ledningen. Han har hållit
ett visst avstånd till sina källor och därmed kunnat garantera sina
uppdragsgivare en obunden rapportering.
     Numera delar han sin tid mellan Stockholm och Boston. I sin lättlästa
Jumpin´Jimminy, skriven på engelska för amerikanska och svenska läsare,
utgiven i USA och lätt att köpa i Sverige på www.adlibris.se kastar Bob Skole
loss från den strikta sakligheten. Istället bjuder han på en delvis påhittad,
delvis mycket sannolik berättelse från de internationella spionintrigernas
Stockholm på 1940-talet. Med snabba drag tecknar han den anpassliga
Beskäftighet som tydligt stack fram under neutralitetens täckmantel.
En beskäftighet som länge styrdes av tron på nazisternas seger och
mot slutet av kriget, när alla insåg att Hitler skulle förlora, snabbt växlade
över till hurrarop för de allierade.
     Huvudpersonerna är några av de många amerikanska flygare som
nödlandade i Sverige efter luftstrider över Tyskland och internerades i
Västerås och Falun. De var tacksamma över att Sverige fanns att landa på.
Men de var också klara över att vi samtidigt sålde mängder av krigsmateriel
till Hitler-Tyskland.
     Wallenbergarnas balansgång mellan tyska och allierade intressen.
Regeringens fria lejd genom Sverige åt tyska förband. Amerikanska
teknikers nyckelroll för SAABs flygplanstillverkning. Mikrofoner under
krogborden där utlänningar lunchade. Dessa och andra verkliga händelser
blandas med träffsäkra nålstick:
     -Svenska opinionsbildare visste allt om krig, särskilt som de inte
hade slagits i något sedan 1815.
     Skoles journalistiska porträtt av oss är inte ensidigt. Mot det
nazistanstuckna Aftonbladet och andra röster ställer han vad han kallar
de “två verkligt modiga tidningarna” Handelstidningen i Göteborg och
Vestmanlands Läns Tidning.
     Mitt i alltsammans innehåller boken en dråplig saga om baseball
i Stockholm mellan amerikanska och japanska internerade. Den
legendariske Asea-chefen Sigfrid Edström är med på ett hörn. Han
hade lärt sig baseball i USA och inför olympiska spelen i Stockholm
1912 byggde han upp ett baseball-lag i Västerås. Ett av de allra första
i landet. Västeråsgrabbarna spelade också en uppvisningsmatch
utanför Stadion mot ett USA-lag. VLT:s Bernt Jangendahl bekräftar
att uppgifterna är riktiga.
     Jumpin´Jimminy är en läsvärd påminnelse om hurdana vi var,
hurdana vi kanske fortfarande är och hur vakna ögon betraktar oss.