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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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Hitting an Object with a Stick
A overwhelming desire of man for centuries has been to hit a small object with a stick. Early man grabbed a strong stick and swung away at a small rock lying on the ground. Often times, he tossed the rock into the air to discover how far it would go when hit with the stick. Then, he even challenged an opponent to pitch the rock to him.

But designing an area to fulfill that desire did not come until centuries later. Baseball fields and parks owe its existence to man's ingenuity to be able to visualize a playing field in some out-of-the way place - be it a empty lot, corn field, lake front, etc.

All of them provide some form of pleasure for the participants. Now it can be noted - in the past decade or so - a new form of stick-hitting-object is bringing equal enjoyment to young girls and boys.

Be it ever so noted: Our beloved baseballhistorian.com manager witnessed his 6-year-old grand-daughter, Kali, playing 'Stick-Ball'. This version of baseball is played by younger girls and boys, often times together on the same baseball diamond. Rules of the game are generally the same as regular baseball - with one exception! The ball is not pitched, but is placed on a hard plastic-rubber stick-pole, whereupon, the batter swings away and hits the ball with "a mighty swing." ..... No score is kept for the game .... And since few, if any, outs are made, an inning lasts until every child bats once.

It is to be noted: - That Kali's team (the Mets) had played Five games already this year and a first-time feat for year 2000 was performed. "An out was made!" Some young girl picked up a ground ball between first and second and threw it to the first baseman, for the first out of the year. It is to be duly noted that Kali was the infielder who picked up the ball and threw it to first base. Baseballhistorian.com - Manager's Notebook (Green Boxes)



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