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American Heroes
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1940s-1950s Women Baseball Archives 1940s-1950s Women Baseball Archives
The All-American Womens League recruited players from every state in the U.S. and several provinces of Canada

In the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, women were paid weekly from $40 to $80 and as high as $125 per/week in later years.

The Racine Belles, located in southeastern Wisconsin, drew more spectators than any male sports' team had ever drawn in that city...

Highly successful, Racine won the AAGPBL first Playoff Championship in 1943, and ran away in the 1946 regular season with a sterling 74-38 record and then won that year's Playoff Championship.

Leading Women Baseball Player Bios:

* Pauline Pirok, Kenosha Comets & South Bend Blue Sox, RH - born in Chicago on 10/18/1926... went by the nickname of Pinky Pirok, she tried out in Chicago's Wrigley Gum Field in 1943 and was signed by Kenosha of the state of Wisconsin and attended spring training in later years in Havana, Cuba... hit a career-best .234 in her rookie season as a 17-year-old in '43... Pauline Pirak six seasons' career stats: .208 BA, 32 Doubles, 14 Triples, 0Hr, 262 Runs, 127 RBIs, 223 Stolen Bases in 1,976 at-bats spanning 559 games - 1943-1948.

* Kerry Kerrigan, Pitcher and Utility Player Rockford Peaches, RH - good-looking with curly-hair, she was An all-around athlete... possessed a strong pitching arm and played two seasons - 1950-1951 - with Rockford of the AAGBL...her lifetime achievements include playing on two Florida softball champions, and volleyball champion team.

* Erma Keyes, Outfielder Battle Creek Belles, RH - joined the league as a rookie in 1951 after she collected 9 varsity letters and graduated from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. A fine hitter, played one season in the women's league, Keyes lined 67 hits in 316 at bats, for a .212 batting average, sacored 23 runs, had 23 RBIs in 89 games.

* Helen Ketola, Third Baseman Fort Wayne Daises, RH - listed playing days 5-ft, 4-inches, 129-pounds.... Nicknamed Pee Wee... although she played just one season - 1950. Ketola often recalled 'the opportunity to play in the league was the best thing that ever happened to her.' Born in Quincy MA on 9/30/1931... Copyright 2003 by baseballhistorian.com - AAGBL Archives



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1946 Racine Belles 1946 Racine Belles
One of the finest teams in women's baseball history, the Belles won the 1946 Shaughnessy Playoffs

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

Following from the 1947 Official Year Book... author Unknown:

For the second consecutive year, the league champion also copped the Shaughnessy playoff crown, when the Racine Belles, duplicating the feat of the 1945 Rockford Peaches, went all the way in the post-season series to win double laurels.

Millie Deegan was the pitching star of the over-all series, beating Grand Rapids and Racine twice each and winning four straight before the Belles finally stopped her in her final game relief role. Jo Winter shone on the mound for the Racine Belles, winning one from South Bend and three from Rockford for a final accounting of 4 wins and 1 loss.

Sophie Kurys of the Belles would be adjudged an all-around star of the series, leading all players in hitting and scoring runs and playing a stellar game afield. In the South Bend series she scored six runs and garnered nine hits in four games and in the final game against Rockford, she was the entire Racine offense, stealing five bases and scoring the only run of the contest after her own hit and steal.

Dorothy Snookie Harrell of the Peaches was a lively hitting star in the series games and helped to keep the Peaches spark alive in their final efforts against the Belles. Dottie Kamenshak, the league's batting champion for 1946, was held down fairly well by Racine pitching until the final game when she rapped out four hits.

Maddy English, Racine third sacker was an important hitter in the South Bend series, winning the all-important first game with a double in the seventeenth (17) inning. Connie Wisniewski, Grand Rapids pitcher, and Edythe Perlick , Racine left fielder, both hit circuit blows (homers) in the series games as did English. Betty Whiting of Grand Rapids did some fancy extra-base socking to help the Chicks in the series against Rockford.

In ten series games, Racine had a total of 36 runs, 66 hits and 20 errors; in eleven games Rockford had 17 runs, 69 hits and 18 errors; in five games Grand Rapids had 8 runs, 27 hits and 10 errors; in four games South Bend totaled 18 runs, 25 hits and 12 errors.

baseballhistorian.com - The History of Womens Baseball AAGPBL - 1946 Racine Belles



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1953 All American Girls Baseball League 1953 All American Girls Baseball League
Attendance fell in the women's baseball league since a peak of almost 1 million in 1949

Fans embraced the All American Girls Professional Baseball League all during the War as major league male players were called or enlisted into the military.

A record of 910,000 fans watched the 10 female teams play in 1949. Then however, attendance fell after the major leagues return to normalcy after the War and besides fans had other interests, like buying and fixing up houses, going fishing, bowling, and making and raising babies. And, by 1952 the AAGBL had only six teams – the Rockford Peaches, Fort Wayne Daisies, Grand Rapids Chicks, Kalamazoo Lassies, South Bend Blue Sox and Muskegon Belles, which moved from Racine Wisconsin.

A few of the AAGPBL 1950s Leading Players – Pitchers: Mary Lou Studnicka, Eleanor Moore, Gloria Cordes, Jean Cione. Catchers: Pepper Paire, Marilyn Jenkins. OF/IF: Dottie Ferguson, Jean Smith, Doris Sams. IF: Gabby Ziegler, Joan Berger, Inez Voyce, Betty McKenna. <> Womens Baseball History



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1953 Grand Rapids Chicks 1953 Grand Rapids Chicks
One of the most highly awaited playoff series in professional women's baseball history during the 1950s - it featured a first round series between the Rockford Peaches against the Grand Rapids Chicks Rockford Peaches agaioinst

Grand Rapids Chicks 1953 Playoff Lineup <>

Doris Sadie Satterfield LF… Jean Smith CF… Joyce Ricketts RF… Renae Youngberg 3B… Gabby Ziegler SS… Dolores Moore 2B… Inez Lefty Voyce 1B… Marilyn Jenkins Catcher… Eleanor Moore P… Mary Lou Studnicka P… Earlene Risinger P… Dot Mueller P…

Game 1 - playing at home the Rockford Peaches scored early and often and won the playoff opener 9-2. The Peaches lined 13 hits off Grand Rapids starter Eleanor Moore and reliever Mary Lou Studnicka.

Game 2 – the action shifted to Grand Rapids home ballpark and Beans Risinger pitched a complete game, two-hit, 2-0 shutout. Game 3 – Dot Mueller pitched and the Chicks won 4-3 and advanced to the Championship Series against the Kalamazoo Lassies who defeated Fort Wayne in the other first round games.

1953 Championship Series <> Grand Rapids swept Kalamazoo in the best of three game set

Game 1 – the Grand Rapids Chicks beat the Kalamazoo Lassies 5-2 aided by the pitching of Mary Lou Studnicka. She allowed only 2 runs thru 8 innings. With the scored tied 2-2 going into the 4th inning, the Chicks scored 3 runs off Lassies’ pitcher Gloria Cordes. A tie-breaking sacrifice fly by Gabby Ziegler scored Dolores Moore who started the inning with a single, and, another sac-fly this time by Inez Voyce put the Chicks up 4-2… then a single by Joyce Ricketts scored the game’s final run.

When Kalamazoo’s first two batters reached base in the 9th, Chick’s manager Woody English promptly brought in pitcher Eleanor Moore. Moore struck out Isabel Alvarez for out number 1, Dottie Schroeder popout to shortstop Gabby Ziegler, and June Peppas hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Dolores Moore who threw to Lefty Voyce at first base for the final out of the game.

Game 2 – in Kalamazoo – with cold weather around 40 degrees and windy both teams’ managers agreed the game with go just seven innings. Grand Rapids 6 ft 1 inch, right-handed pitcher Earlene Risinger defeated the Lassies 4-1, aided by a two run double in the sixth by Joyce Ricketts. Kalamazoo’s Doris Sams lined a homer for the Lassies only run.

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In the final game of the championship Grand Rapids manager Woody English was thrown out of the game for arguing with The umpire and Chicks captain Gabby Ziegler took over as acting manager.

Doris Sams, one of the AAGPBL power hitters, hit 12 home runs in 1952.

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Tales and Stories from By-gone Days - Early Baseball
Making only $5 per/week as a grocery clerk in Rockford, Illinois, Albert Spalding was overwhelmed with by offers from professional baseball teams in 1867. At age 17, he was pitching for the Forest City team of Rockford. The club played the professional National Base Ball Club of Washington, D.C. and when the young pitcher stopped them cold, he became a national celebrity and was offered a salary approaching $2,500 per/year from pro clubs in New York City, Cleveland and Washington. But, he declined and stayed with Forest City for four more years.

"I enjoyed playing for Forest City. When we arrived in most towns we were greeted by their majors and usually by a brass band," Spalding stated later in recalling his early pitching days.

He signed with Harry Wright's team in Boston and was the club's only pitcher. He was the pitcher of record in all but one game, going 20-10 for the year. Spalding pitched the Red Stocking to four straight National Association crowns, including an awesome record of 56-4 in 1875.

After the 1875 season, Spalding joined Chicago Businessman William A. Hulbert, the president of the Chicago White Stocking (later called the Cubs). When Spalding joined his new club, his teammates at Boston followed him to the White Stocking, including stars Ross Barnes, Deacon Jim White and Cal McVey. When news of the players Signing secret contracts leaked out, the eastern newspapers Cried, "Your White Stocking will turn gray."

An interesting bit of old history - Calvin McVey was one of base balls' early heroes, he played in a game billed as the National Championship in 1870. In this game, his' team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings were locked in a tight battle with the Brooklyn Atlantics, who were leading by two runs. During this era, most stadium had no outfield barriers or stands, and the crowd simply stood anywhere they liked. Well, history states - with Brooklyn at bat, Clarence Smith on 3rd base, Joe Start, its super-star hitter, stepped into the batters' box. After swinging and missing at two fastballs, Start proceeded to line a long drive towards Clavin McVey in rightfield. The crowd backed up to give the RF room to make the catch. As McVey was running to retrieve the long drive, a drunken fan jumped onto his back. By the time McVey could throw off the drunk, the ball bounded around. He picked it up and threw to the infield. Smith had scored long ago and Start had reached third safety. The umpires conferred, and Start was told to remain at third and received credit for a triple. The Brooklyn Atlantics won the championship by a score of 8-7.

The president of the Red Stockings, Aaron B. Champion sent a wire back home to Cincinnati proclaiming: "The finest game ever played. Our boys did nobly, but fortune was against them. Eleven innings played. Though beaten, not disgraced."

Meanwhile, Hulbert grew disgusted in the way gamblers had infiltrated the National Association and along with others formed a new league in 1876, the National League. Spadling, helped by the all-around play of Barnes, White and McVey, chalked up 47 victories out of Chicago's total of 52 and led the White Stocking to the first NL pennant. The next season he played 1st and 2nd base because his pitching arm was too strained from all of the over-work.

During 1888, Spalding led two teams on a worldwide tour, the All-America and Chicago clubs. They left Chicago on October 20, traveled westward to San Francisco, taking on all comers and then visited 14 different countries promoting Baseball before returning in late 1889. In 1900, U.S. President William McKinley appointed Spalding the U.S. Commissioner to the Olympic Games in Paris. Spalding was honored for his work by the French Government and made him a permanent member of the 'Legion of Honor" Baseballhistorian.com Green Boxes



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