Photo by Robinson Studios of Grand Rapids
March is Women’s History Month and while the idea that the legacy of accomplishment of 50% of our population can be handled with a single month seems a bit of a stretch, it’s a good excuse to check out some great historical photos.
The web site of the Grand Rapids Public Library features an online exhibit of images and information of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). According to the site, the AAGPBL was the 1942 brainchild of Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley, intended to serve as close-to-home entertainment for fans limited by World War II travel restrictions and as a temporary replacement should the war-time draft force cancellation of major league baseball. The Grand Rapids team was known as the Grand Rapids Chicks and your really need to go to the site to look through all the photos in their gallery.
You might also want to read The Girls of Summer from Michigan History Magazine for more details on the league like this passage:
Many of these women set records any major leaguer would treasure. Racine Belles player Sophie Kurys, dubbed the Flint Flash for her amazing ability to steal bases, stole a total of 1,114 bases during her career. Racine Belles pitcher Joanne Winter set the record for consecutive scoreless innings at 63, one even Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser fell shy of with his record of 59 in 1988. Grand Rapids Chicks pitcher Connie Wisniewski earned her nickname Iron Woman because in 1945 “she once pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader, started forty-six games, and ended the season with a 32-11 record,” according to historian Barbara Gregorich. Wisniewski’s performance as a pitcher made her a natural choice as the league’s Player of the Year.