a league of their own

If My Life Were A Movie

9:47:00 PM

So we had our Media vs. Elected Officials softball game benefiting the food bank last weekend.

It was a close call, with the media squeaking out a 29-20 win after being down by 14 at the top of the fifth inning. It was a fun experience, if you don't count the two innings where everything was almost lost, and we accomplished our goal. Enough food was donated to fill up the back of the food bank's truck.

I didn't do too badly, especially considering it's been three years since I played. I dug in at second base just like in the good ol' days - saved a play the pitcher missed and almost made a double play. We won't talk about how sore I've been the past few weeks...

Are you crying?! There's no crying in baseball!

After the game, I watched one of my favorite movies of all time - 'A League of their Own'. This movie is a classic - from its star-studded cast of Tom Hanks, Gina Davis, Rosie O'Donnel and Madonna ... to the fact that it was inspired by our nation's history.

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was created in 1943. At the time America was waist-deep in World War II, and most of baseball's best players, along with many of the nation's factory workers, had joined the war effort. That meant the women emerged from their kitchens and gave back to their country.

The AAGPBL was the brainchild of Chicago Cubs owner and bubblegum mogul Phillip Wrigley.

For the first few years, the girls played fast-pitch softball. The overhanded pitching and use of actual baseballs didn't actually start until 1950.

Just like in the movie, the league used scouts to bring in the talent. The first year, there were only four teams: Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin; Rockford, Illinois; and South Bend, Indiana. Each team had 15 players, a manager/coach, business manager and female chaperone. The teams were selected at Spring Training, which was held on May 17, 1943, at Wrigley Field.

The girls who were selected had to sign a contract. Under that contract they weren't allowed to have any other type of employment. Their salaries ranged from $45 to $85 a week or more. The players had to be highly-skilled and comply with high moral standards and rules of conduct.

 These girls may have been sliding in the dirt, but they weren't allowed to forget their femininity. After every practice, they attended Rubenstein's evening charm school classes where they learned the proper etiquette for every situation imaginable. Every player also had a personalized beauty kit and instructions on how it should be used.

The league operated up until 1954. In the end, only two of the original teams remained - Rockford and South Bend. But there was never any doubt as to the significance of the league. It offered more than 600 girls, some as young as 15, the opportunity to play professional baseball.

If my life could be a movie, I'd want it to be this one. How cool would it be to be able to play softball/baseball professionally? Just watching the movie, I feel the itch to be out on the field with them. Just another sign I was born in the wrong time period.

P.S. To learn more about the AAGPBL, click here.

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2 comments

  1. Mae Mordabito: What if at a key moment in the game my, my uniform bursts open and, uh, oops, my bosoms come flying out? That, that might draw a crowd, right?

    Yessum, I saw League several times and enjoyed it very much, Ashton. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna were all at or near their peak of popularity and bankability at the time. If your life was this movie, are you hinting that you would have Madonna's role? :)

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    1. Probably not, haha. I like her role, but I'd want to be Dottie.

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