Women & Baseball

Posted Jun 8, 2018

Join us on Wednesday, June 13th at 7:00 PM as we welcome Bob Kann.  Bob will give a presentation on Joyce Westerman, Wisconsin Women, and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: Play Ball!

In the meantime, here are some books and movies that should help cover the bases:


Belles of the Ballpark by Diana Star Helmer

Spanning the major leagues all the way down to hometown baseball diamonds, men are predominantly baseball players despite the sport being a national pastime.  However, from 1943 to 1954, women had their own league – the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – where women were able to play baseball and get paid for it.  While Major League Baseball players like Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams were serving in the armed services, women’s baseball teams kept the sport alive, filling the stands with cheering crowds.  The players, which included women from the United States, Canada, and Cuba, lived with families during home games and were chaperoned when playing away.  They practiced throwing, catching, and batting, but also attended charm classes.  Their short skirts, lipstick, and fashionable hairstyles didn’t stop them from sliding or arguing with umpires.  Learn more about the AAGPBL in Diana Helmer's accessible read.       


A League of Their Own starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, and Rosie O’Donnell

When men went abroad to fight in World War II, women often took on the roles they left behind.  On the home front, women served the nation by working for the military, in factories, on farms, and they even played professional baseball.  In 1943, Philip K. Wrigley, the president of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum and the Chicago Cubs, helped form the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).  In A League of Their Own (1992), Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, and Rosie O’Donnell follow the stories of Dottie and Kit Hinson, two sisters who play for rival teams.  When the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles meet in game seven of the World Series, the women of the AAGPBL show us why there is no crying in baseball.


When Women Played Hardball by Susan E. Johnson

Approximately 500 women played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943-1954.  The pioneering female athletes brought both skill and style across Midwestern ballparks in support America’s National Pastime.  Author and loyal fan of the Rockford Peaches Susan E. Johnson offers an intimate portrait of the AAGPBL and the women who played baseball in her book, When Women Played Hardball.  Gathering colorful stories directly from the women themselves, Johnson includes player profiles as well as chapters covering each game of the 1950 World Series which featured the Rockford Peaches and the Fort Wayne Daisies.  Sharing a combination of memories and dreams, Johnson aptly celebrates the tough, talented, athletic, and fiercely competitive women of the AAGPBL. 

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