Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

21 August 2008

Play ball, Dottie!

A sure fire way to make me cry is to have me watch "A League of Their Own." That scene at the end where the women are in the Hall of Fame and then they start singing? OMG...instant water works!

It's been over 60 years since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League closed shop, but the memories live on, especially due to the movie. Earlier this month we lost another veteran of the league, Dottie Collins.

Pitching for six seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created in 1943 to provide home front entertainment while many major leaguers were off to war, Collins dazzled opposing batters.

She pitched underhand, sidearm and overhand; she threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups; and in the summer of 1948, she pitched until she was four months pregnant. She won more than 20 games in each of her first four seasons. She threw 17 shutouts and had a league-leading 293 strikeouts in 1945 for the Fort Wayne Daisies, when the women’s game resembled fast-pitch softball.

Did you read that? She pitched until she was FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT! Considering some of the beer bellies on some pitchers (ahem, Babe) I'm not that shocked. But still, woo-grrl! Dottie was the reason why most of us, including myself, even know about the league. She organized the association which lead to the display at the HoF and then the movie.

Thank you Dottie. Thanks for playing, for showing the world that us grrls have game (any coincidence that the daughter generation of AAGPBL won Title IX?), and for helping to preserve your history.

And if there's some sugar mama reading this, I would LOVE to attend this year's reunion...a cruise to the Bahamas! Can you imagine a cruise with all these "lil old ladies" who back in the day dove, slid, and ran in skirts, yet didn't allow them to impede their play? Hell ya, I want first on the shuffleboard.

3 comments:

Loved that movie too! Have a degree in Phys Ed and one of my best classes was about women in sport in history.
Thanks for the reminder. Have you read Marathon Woman? It's amazing too and during a later time period.

Oh, geez louise! I LOVE this movie! I cry at the end too. I have no idea why it still gets to me, but it does.

rachel - no, I haven't...I'll have to put it on the TBR pile. Thanks!

frau - I think it still gets to us because we still have so many dreams deferred.