Tuesday, March 25, 2014

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

Hopefully we've all seen A League of their Own, the film based on the founding of girls professional baseball. It's a fabulous movie that captures the spirit and determination of the women involved in playing the sport during a time when the men (including husbands, brothers, and friends) were off to war. The league was started in 1943 due to the lack of boys available to play in the minor leagues. To keep the country interested in the game and the funds coming in, Philip Wrigley, the chewing gum mogul and owner of the Chicago Cubs, came up with the idea for women to play. After try-outs, charm school, and beauty kits (the players needed to be as attractive as possible), the games started. It was pretty successful and used the patriotic feeling of a country at war to boost attendance. Once he lost interest though, Wrigley sold the league in 1944 to Arthur Meyerhoff who in turn took it and ran. He concentrated more on the sport and the charm school was discontinued. The league celebrated the end of the war in 1945 and continued with success afterwards, until the early 1950s when MLB started airing games on television. While attendance dwindled and the teams eventually disappeared, there is still much to say about the fact that the AAGPBL lasted for a total of 12 seasons from 1943-1954.

Who were the girls who started it all??? To inspire those of you who are baseball fans expecting a little girl, here are the names of the ladies that made up the four teams who began playing in 1943:

Kenosha Comets
Helen "Pee Wee" Austin
Catherine Bennett
Helen "Nikie" Fox (maiden name was Nicol)
Marian "Wooly" Fricker (maiden name was Wohlwender)
Ann "Tootsie" Harnett
Elise "Lee" Harney
Mabel Holle
Dorothy "Dottie" Hunter
Shirley Jameson
Phyllis "Sugar" Koehn
Mary Louise Lester
Joyce McCoy
Ethel McCreary
Kay "Heimie" McDaniel (maiden name was Heim)
Darlene "Mickey" Mickelsen
Merna "Toddy" Nearing
Janice "Jerry" O'Hara
Pauline "Pinky" Pirok
Genevieve Audrey "Audie" Wagner

Racine Belles
Leola Brody
Margaret "Marnie" Brown
Dorothy "Mickey" Chapman
Rita Corrigan
Claire "Clara" Donahoe
Madeline "Maddy" English
Irene "Choo-Choo" Hickson
Edythe "Edie" Keating
Sophie "Flint Flash, Tina Cobb" Kurys
Gloria Marks
Ruby Martz
Anne Jane "Annie, Annabelle" McFarlane
Glenora Moss
Charlotte Smith
Martha Walker
Dorothy Wind
Joanne "Jo" Winter
Mary "Wish" Wisham
Eleanor Wolf

Rockford Peaches
Muriel Coben
Clara Cook
Gladys "Terrie" Davis
Eileen "Burmy" Dean (maiden name was Burmeister)
Mildred "Millie" Deegan
Pauline Dick
Betty Jane Fritz
Thelma Golden
Dorothy "Dottie" Green
Marjorie Hood
Lillian "Bird Dog" Jackson
Dorothy "Kammie" Kamenshek
Gladys Kuehn
Olive "Ollie" Little
Mildred McAuley
Berith "Berry" Melin
Ruth Miller
Betty "Moe" Moczynski
Marjorie Peters
Mary "Prattie" Pratt
Helen Sandiford
Irene "Ruhnke Dunk" Sanvitis (maiden name was Ruhnke)
Josephine Skokan
Rella Swamp
Dorothy White
Lorraine Wuethrich

South Bend Blue Sox
Mary "Bonnie" Baker
Doris "Dodie" Barr
Margaret "Sonny" Berger
Ruth Born
Bea Chester
Josephine "JoJo" D'Angelo
Mary "Bucky" Elrod
Lois "Flash" Florreich
Johanna "Jo" Hargraves
Mabel Holle
Betsy Jochum
Margie Lang
Lucella "Lu" Ross
Betty Jean "Mac" Rusynyk (maiden name was McFadden)
Dorothy "Dottie" Schroeder
Geraldine Shafranis
Margaret "Marge" Stefani
Ellen Tronnier
Jean Wilson

Do you notice all the Dorothys? It makes sense as these girls were in their early 20s and Dorothy was the #2 name in 1923. It's also interesting to note which of the above names were NOT in the Top 100 in 1923:

Bea NR
Berith NR
Betsy #467
Claire #167
Darlene #290
Edythe #312 (although Edith was #36)
Elise #491
Ellen #103
Glenora NR
Janice #234
Joanne #358
Johanna #415
Joyce #104
Kay #396
Leola #248
Lucella NR
Mabel #102
Madeline #143
Margie #101
Merna NR
Muriel #114
Olive #179
Rella NR
Sophie #159

Do you have a favorite name from the first season of the AAGPBL?

The above information is from the official site of the AAGPBL.


1 comment:

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