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All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
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.
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.
|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|
- Battle Creek, MI: Battle Creek Belles 1951-1952
- Chicago, IL: Chicago Colleens 1948
- Fort Wayne, IN: Fort Wayne Daisies 1945-1954
- Grand Rapids, MI: Grand Rapids Chicks 1945-1954
- Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo Lassies 1950-1954
- Kenosha, WI: Kenosha Comets 1943-1951
- Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Millerettes 1944
- Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Chicks 1944
- Muskegon, MI: Muskegon Lassies 1946-1950; Muskegon Belles 1953
- Peoria, IL: Peoria Redwings 1946-1951
- Racine, WI: Racine Belles 1943-1950
- Rockford, IL: Rockford Peaches 1943-1954
- South Bend, IN: South Bend Blue Sox 1943-1954
- Springfield, IL: Springfield Sallies 1948
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Records
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Player of the Year Award
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League All-Star Teams
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League playoffs
- Shaughnessy Series
- Merrie A. Fidler: The Origins and History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7864-6089-2
- Leslie A. Heaphy and Mel Anthony May, ed: Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006. ISBN 978-1-4766-6594-8
- 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
- Kat D. Williams: The All-American Girls After the AAGPBL: How Playing Pro Ball Shaped Their Lives, McFarland, Jefferson, NC. 2017. ISBN 978-0-7864-7235-2
|All-American Girls Professional Baseball League|