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History of All-American Girls Baseball League History of All-American Girls Baseball League
Women's Baseball League was started in 1943, when four baseball teams faced off during an 108-game schedule... Womens Baseball History

Formed during World War II when almost half of the nation's major leaguers entered Military service, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was an instant success and drew 176,000 rapid fans during the first season - 1943.

Womens Baseball History

The AAGBL was conceived by Chicago Cubs owner Phillip K. Wrigley, the principal owner of Wrigley Gum Corp., and a group of investors.

The four Midwest teams were Kenosha Comets and Racine Belles, both from southern Wisconsin, the Rockford Peaches, from northern Illinois, and the South Bend Blue Sox, from northern Indiana.

Baseball Historian



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AAGBL Expands to 10 Teams by 1948 AAGBL Expands to 10 Teams by 1948
Watching women playing professional baseball on television was a popular early 1950s pastime

Women's Baseball League drew almost 1,000,000 in 1948 and in a 9-game series in Puerto Rico a resounding total of 100,000 attended

The 500 women baseball players who played in the All-American Girls Professional League were excellent all-around athletes and relied on their baseball skills, not their gender, to draw fans to the ballparks. And, certainly when the games were shown on television they became a huge success for their financiers.

The Girls managers included some of major league baseball's top former players - Jimmie (Jimmy) Foxx, Max Carey, Dave Bancroft and Bill Wambsganss.

Many of the women players came from the ranks of industrial companies softball teams and some were veterans of men's baseball teams.

However, when World War II ended and men returned to the major leagues, attendance fell dramatically. To be sure, the demise of the AAGBL came quickly when more men's major league games were televised.

The league folded after eleven seasons - 1943-1953... baseballhistorian.com - Professional Women's Baseball



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Commissioner Ford Frick Bans Women Commissioner Ford Frick Bans Women
Old Boys' Club doesn't fashion women as athletes

In 1952 Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick sent notice that women are not to play on major league teams, stating his 'purpose was to prevent teams from using women players as a publicity stunt.'

The result of this banning has kept highly skilled women, especially fastball pitchers, from playing in the minors or major leagues. Even 10 years later in 1964, an all-female team petitioned to join the men's class-A Florida State League but was rejected.

In the late 1980s, Julie Croteau challenged men-only collegiate teams and was the first women to played at the college-level. She earned all-conference honors at first base on the St. Mary's College (Maryland) men's baseball team but left during the middle of her junior year rather disillusion because she believed women were treated as inferior to men.

Generations of young girls can now thank a series of 1970s court battles that game them the opportunity to play baseball in the Little Leagues.

And, most of us men, in our lifetimes, have played with or saw girls playing baseball that were equal or better than many boys... baseballhistorian.com - Womens Baseball History...



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Dorothy Wiltse Dorothy Wiltse
AAGBL Pitcher - Minneapolis 1944; Fort Wayne 1945-1949

Born in Inglewood, California, Dottie Wiltse won over 20 games four times in her brilliant 6-year career, including a compelling 29-10 record, with a resounding 17 shutouts for Fort Wayne in 1945. She easily made the transition from underhand to overhand pitching and posted a .career 608 winning percentage and her stunning .183 lifetime ERA ranked as one of the best in the women's baseball league.

In 1946, Dorothy Wiltse buzzed her fastball past 294 batters, including 16 in one game, and finished the season with a 22-20 record.

Married during her career, she also played under the name of Dottie Collins.

Dorothy Wiltse Collins career pitching stats: 3635 innings spanning 323 games.



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Ruth Lessing Ruth Lessing
AAGBL Catcher, Right-handed - Minneapolis 1944; Fort Wayne 1945; Grand Rapids 1946-1949

One of the top backstops in the All-American Girls Baseball League was 5-ft, 5-inch, 128-pounder Ruth Lessing. She played over 100 games four straight seasons - 1945 through 1948 and was selected an All-Star three Consecutive years - 1946-1948. Facing mostly strong, fast-throwing pitching, Ruth Lessing hit career-high's with 10 doubles and batted .215 in 1945, and set career-highs of 22 stolen bases in 1944 and again in 1948.

Ruth Lessing holds AAGBL records for most assists for catchers with 144 in 1944, the record for highest fielding average with .982 in '45 and for the most games catching for one season with 125 in '48.

In 1949, after -player 44 games, she suffered a career-ending shoulder injury and was forced to retire.

Ruth Lessing career stats: .191 BA, 351 hits in 1840 at-bats, 31 Doubles, 8 Triples, 2 HR, 164 Runs, 164 RBIs, 98 Stolen Bases, and walked 204 times while striking out just 184 times. baseballhistorian.com - All-American Girls Baseball League - Women's Professional Baseball



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Eileen Burmeister Eileen Burmeister
AAGBL, Infielder, Catcher, Outfielder - Bats Left, Throws Right - Rockford Peaches 1940s

A savvy, versatile player, Eileen Burmeister had many extra base hits in her long career with the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during the 1940s. She played eight defensive positions (except pitcher) and her aggressive style-of-play made her a favorite of the league's fans... Born in Milwaukee on November 30, 1924.

baseballhistorian.com - Women Baseball History Archives



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Dorothy Ferguson Dorothy Ferguson
AAGBL Center-fielder, 2nd Base/3rd Base - Rockford 1945-1954, Peoria 1946 - Right-handed

A proven performer, speedy Dottie Ferguson played mostly center-field during her long 10-year All-American Girls Professional Baseball career. Her best hitting season was 1952 when she hit .243. Born in Winnipeg, Canada she got married in '49, and then played under the name of Dottie Key. An excellent defensive ballhawk in center she was also a capable hitter, compiling a .201 career batting average... baseballhistorian.com - All Rights Reserved - Professional Womens Baseball Player



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Final Standings - 1943 Women's Baseball Final Standings - 1943 Women's Baseball
The Racine Belles beat the Kenosha Comets to win the first Play-off Championship of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

1943 Final Standings Womens Pro Baseball

Compiled from old magazines, news-print and 'this and that stuff'

The season was divided into two halves:

First Half: Racine Belles 20-15... South Bend Blue Sox 21-16... Kenosha Comets 16-19... Rockford Peaches 15-22...

Second Half: Kenosha Comets 33-21... South Bend Blue Sox 30-24... Racine Belles 25-23... Rockford Peaches 20-34...

Play-off Champion: - Racine Belles

AAGPBL

1943 Batting Champion: - Gladys Davis .332... went by nickname of Terrie Davis.



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Helen Callaghan Helen Callaghan
Outfielder & Infielder - Minneapolis Millerettes 1944; Fort Wayne Daisies 1945-1946, 1948

An excellent defensive flyhawk and a jackrabbit on the base-paths, the fleet-footed Helen Callaghan could outrun most women and men in a foot race. She holds the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League record of stealing the most bases per/game. Collecting an amazing total of 354 lifetime stolen bases in just 388 games.

In 1944 her rookie season she batted .287, stole 112 bases and scored 81 runs in just 111 games. The next year, she finished second in the AAGBL in hitting with .299, sliced a career-high 17 doubles, had 4 triples and 3 homers, 77 runs...

Helen Callagan played in the AAGPBL four full seasons, 1944-1946 and 54 games in 1948, then retired to raise a family... Helen Callagan career stats: .257 BA, 35Ds, 15Ts, 7Hrs, 249 Runs, 85 RBIs, 355 hits in 1,382 at-bats, 221 Walks, 161Ks.



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1943  Rockford Peaches Roster 1943 Rockford Peaches Roster
Official Roster Guide from the 1943 Season

First Season of All-American Girls Baseball Team

Manager: Eddie Stumpf... Coach-Chaperon: Marie Timm

Outfielders: - Dorothy Kamenshek... Betty Jane Fritz... Lillian Jackson

Infielders: - Ethel McCreary... Mary Lou Lester... Rella Swamp... Mildred Warwick... Gladys Davis... Lorraine Wuethrich...

Catchers: - Dorothy Sawyer... Helen Nelson... Ruth Miller...

Pitchers: - Thelma golden... Clara Cook... Pauline Oravets... Josephine Skokan... Majorie Peters...

baseballhistorian.com - All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - 1943 AAGPBL



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Boston Braves: Team History 1871-1999
Boston Braves: the team we now know as the Atlanta Braves is the longest continuously active team in baseball history. In 1871, the team was named the Red Stocking, and were a part of the first professional league; the National Association. They won four consecutive championships, 1872 thru 1875. When the league folded at the end of 1875, the team became charter members of the newly formed National League in 1876. The Boston team won eight pennants from 1876-1899 and changed their name to the Boston Beaneaters in the early 1890's.

At the start of the 20th century, the team assumed the current Braves' name. The Boston Braves won the National League Pennant in 1914 and beat Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Money poured in as fans filled the ballpark, and a new stadium was built for the following season. Braves' owner James Gaffney constructed the new stadium on a 13 acre plot located on the Charles River, bounded by Commwealth Ave., Gaffney St and Babcock St. Owner Gaffney wanted a huge ballpark conducive to speed and in-side-the park home runs. The outfield walls were 402 feet down both foul lines and a distance of 550 feet to dead center. It was the largest park in the country and opened to a standing room crowd of well over 40,000 fans. It was at the time the largest crowd ever to attend a baseball game anywhere in the country. They watched the Boston Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.

It was so difficult to hit a ball over the outfield walls that in 1921, Braves' Park produced 34 in-side-the park homers and only 4 over the outfield walls. On April 29, 1922, the New York Giants hit four in-side-the park homers in one game.

In 1928, Boston's management finally brought the fences in to bring-in the new game that was taking the country by storm- swing for the fences with legend Babe Ruth leading the way. The new fences were 320 down leftfield, 387 ft to center and 364 to RF. From 1917-1945, the Boston Braves finished over .500 only 5 times and attendance declined dramatically and the Braves' franchise was sold to Lou Perini in 1946. The Braves won the pennant in 1948 but lost the World Series to the Cleveland Indians. Financial difficulties took their toll and resulted in a move to Milwaukee in 1953.

The Boston Braves were the first team in 50 years to move to a new city. Attendance soared in Milwaukee to almost 2 million to set a new NL record. The Braves led by Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Johnny Logan and pitchers Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette won the World Series in 1957 and took the NL pennant in 1958, but when the Braves failed to contend in the 1960's attendance dropped off sharply.

In 1966, the Braves moved to Atlanta and played in new Fulton County Stadium where the foul lines were 330 down each line and deep center was only 402 feet away, a far cry from the huge Boston Braves' park built in 1915. By mid-1970's the ballpark was referred to as the 'Launching Pad' because of the frequency of homers hit. Regularly during the 1970's & 1980's more home runs were hit there than any other NL park. In the 1990's, the Atlanta Braves led by sinker-ball pitchers' Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz have contended for the pennant throughout the decade. baseballhistorian.com



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