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All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

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The All-American Girls professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was a women's professional baseball league which existed for twelve seasons from 1943 to 1954. The league's franchise were all based in Midwestern United States cities. The league played softball in its first season, but rules were gradually changed over the years until the game was virtually identical to men's baseball.

Despite the league being known in retrospect as the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League or AAGPBL, that name was only used for two seasons. The league was founded as the All-American Girls Softball League; this name lasted until 1946 when the name was changed to the All-American Girls Baseball League. In 1949 and 1950 the league was called the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and from 1951 to 1954 the league adopted the moniker of the American Girls' Baseball League. Alternatively, it is called the All American League.

Contents

[edit] History

The league was conceived by Philip K. Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, during World War II. It was meant to maintain baseball in the public eye in the Midwest at a time when many of baseball's male players were in military service. The league was founded with four teams in 1943, under a centralized single-owner entity structure. After the 1944 season, the league was sold to Arthur Meyerhoff, a Chicago advertising executive. Max Carey replaced Sells as league president. Hitting was sparse in the early years until rule changes equalized the playing field after the 1949 season. After the 1950 season, the team directors voted to purchase the league from Meyerhoff and operate independently. The league's attendance began to decline around 1950, as minor leagues restarted and Major League games began to be televised. The league folded after the 1954 season, having lasted much longer than many believed it would have back in 1943.

While the game played eventually evolved to something similar to baseball, the principal persistent differences were in the size of the diamond, the pitching styles and the size of the ball. The players were also required to wear short skirts during play and lipstick at all times, were preferably to have long hair, and could not wear slacks or trousers at any time. These requirements were part of a strict code of rules that all players were held to. Additionally, players were sent to charm school so they could represent the league properly.

There was a renewed interest in the league in 1988 when the Baseball Hall of Fame created an exhibit on the league. Interest truly peaked in 1992 with the release of A League Of Their Own, a fictional film based on the league.

[edit] League Overview

Year (Playoffs) Champion Runner-up Teams Games Ball Circumference (inches) Base Paths (feet) Pitching Distance (feet) Pitching Style
1943 (Playoffs) Racine Belles Kenosha Comets 4 354 12 65 40 Underhand
1944 (Playoffs) Milwaukee Chicks Kenosha Comets 6 696 11 1/2* 68* 40 Underhand
1945 (Playoffs) Rockford Peaches Fort Wayne Daisies 6 658 11 1/2 68 42* Underhand
1946 (Playoffs) Racine Belles Grand Rapids Chicks 8 896 11 72 43 Underhand/Limited Side-arm
1947 (Playoffs) Grand Rapids Chicks Muskegon Lassies 8 894 11 72 43 Full Side-arm
1948 (Playoffs) Rockford Peaches Racine Belles 10 1244 10 3/8 72 50 Overhand
1949 (Playoffs) Rockford Peaches South Bend Blue Sox 8 885 10 (red seam) 72 55* Overhand
1950 (Playoffs) Rockford Peaches Fort Wayne Daisies 8 874 10 (livelier) 72 55* Overhand
1951 (Playoffs) South Bend Blue Sox Grand Rapids Chicks 8 858 10 (livelier) 72 55 Overhand
1952 (Playoffs) South Bend Blue Sox Fort Wayne Daisies 6 656 10 (livelier) 72 55 Overhand
1953 (Playoffs) Grand Rapids Chicks Fort Wayne Daisies 6 634 10 72 55 Overhand
1954 (Playoffs) Kalamazoo Lassies Fort Wayne Daisies 5 466 9* 85 60 Overhand

[edit] Cities Represented

[edit] League Presidents

[edit] Related Articles

[edit] Further Reading

  • Merrie A. Fidler: The Origins and History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.
  • Leslie A. Heaphy and Mel Anthony May, ed: Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.
  • Jim Sargent: We Were the All-American Girls: Interviews with Players of the AAGPBL, 1943-1954, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7864-6983-3


All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954

[edit] External Links

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