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Dottie Key

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Dorothy B. Ferguson Key

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 125 lb.

Dottie Key played ten seasons with the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from 1945 to 1954.

Prior to her baseball career, she was a speed skating champion.

When she broke in, she was Dottie Ferguson. She hit only .131/~.214/.155 her first year, as a backup for Rockford, mostly at third base. She went 0 for 3 in the postseason as the Peaches won the title. In 1946, she played part of the season for the Peoria Redwings and hit a composite .183/~.307/.200 in 80 games. She stole 39 but had no doubles or homers. She split her time that year between second base and third base. She did not appear in the playoffs for Rockford, as she presumably finished the year with Peoria.

In 1947, the 24-year-old batted .166/~.270/.177 and swiped 71 bases, tying her with Faye Dancer for fifth in the league. Ferguson was a regular outfielder for Rockford in 1948, producing at a .153/~.283/.167 clip and swiping 73 bases. She scored 73 runs and drew 76 walks. Dottie was 8th in the circuit in stolen bases and fifth in runs scored. She would spend the rest of her career primarily in the outfield. In the postseason, she went 9 for 40 with 7 steals as Rockford won. In game two of the finals, she led the show by going 3 for 3 with two RBI.

Getting married to Donald Key, a member of the Canadian Olympic track and field team, in either late 1948 or 1949, Dottie hit .179/~.299/.208 with 56 steals in 1949. She went 3 for 26 in the post-season, but drove in the run that gave Rockford another title in the bottom of the 9th of game four in the finals. Key finally broke the Mendoza Line in 1950 with a .234/~.314/.269 line. She was 10 for 35 with 7 runs in the playoffs and Rockford claimed yet another victory.

In 1951, Dottie hit .216/~.336/.241 with her first career home run. She stole 91 bases that year, putting her second in the league behind only Charlene Pryer. She also scored 91 runs, second to Pryer's 106. It was possibly her best year. She went only 3 for 20 in the playoffs that year.

In 1952, the 29-year-old outfielder batted .243/~.316/.297 and saw her steal (46) and run (54) totals drop significantly. She still finished fifth in the AAGPBL in steals. She was 9 for 29 in the playoffs with four steals. Key saw some time on the infield again in 1953, batting .208/~.284/.233 on the season. She went 4 for 11 in the post-season that year.

In her (and the league's) final year, Dottie produced at a .253/~.317/.274 line with only 14 steals, the fewest since her rookie year.

Overall, Ferguson Key hit .201/~.300/.226 in 950 regular season games. She stole 461 bases, drew 455 walks and scored 520 runs. She fielded .951. In the playoffs, she batted .225/?/.245 in 204 AB and stole 18 bases, scoring 22 runs in 61 contests. She went 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in four career pitching performances.

Key died from cancer at age 80.

Sources include The AAGPBL Record Book by W.C. Madden

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