Tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League!

Tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League!

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All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Photo Gallery
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All-American Girls Professional Baseball League!

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than with a tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League! It’s about time we paid a little attention to the role women played in baseball history, especially during the war years of the 1940’s. 

Here’s a neat photo from the AAGPBL sent to me by one of our readers, and a little bit about the All-Girls’ League edited from an article that appears in Time Magazine’s On-Line edition, April 8, 2015:

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a women’s professional baseball league founded by Cubs’ owner Philip K. Wrigley which existed from 1943 to 1954. Over 600 women played in the league. League attendance peaked at over 900,000 attendees in 1948. Over the league’s history, the Rockford Peaches won a league-best four championships.

Click on the link to see a nice photo tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: http://wp.me/p7a04E-2xi

The league that would later inspire the 1992 movie A League of Their Own— and the enduring exclamation, “There’s no crying in baseball!” — had just kicked off its third season when LIFE featured it in a photo essay in 1945. The six teams, all based in the Midwest, were comprised of nearly 100 women between the ages of 16 and 27 who played for $50 to $85 per week. Eight were married and three had children. Nearly half a million spectators were expected to turn out over the course of that season, shelling out $0.74 for a seat to watch the Rockford Peaches face the South Bend Blue Sox and the Grand Rapid Chicks take on the Racine Belles.

As exciting as it was to watch women slide and steal and scuff their knees, the league was a product of its time, and its strict rules of conduct reflected this. According to LIFE, “League rules establish she must always wear feminine attire, cannot smoke or drink in public, cannot have dates except with ‘old friends’ and then only with the approval of the ever-present team chaperone.”
But as demure as the players may have been off the field, they were serious athletes as soon as the first pitch was thrown. Blue Sox Catcher Mary “Bonnie” Baker could throw 345 feet. Lefty pitcher Annabelle Lee threw a perfect game. And Sophie Kurys stole 1,114 bases during her ten-year career. The appeal of players’ athleticism kept the league going for more than a decade, with attendance peaking in the late 1940s. But the league’s decentralization, a dearth of qualified players and the rise of televised major league games eventually led to its demise, with players retiring their gloves after the close of the 1954 season.

-Gary Livacari

Photo Source: from Time Magazine On-line edition, April 8, 2015
http://time.com/3760024/women-professional-baseball/; and public domain.

Information: Edited from same article

 

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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