All American Girls Professional Baseball League

Name: Canadian-Born AAGPBL Players
Induction year: 1998
Born (date, year, place): Canada
Years Played: 1943 to 1954

With so many men serving in the war, Chicago Cubs owner, Philip Wrigley, feared baseball would be forgotten in the early ’40s. So to maintain interest in the sport, the legendary executive dispatched scouts across North America to find the best female players to compete in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Enticed with salaries ranging from $55 to $150 per week, the initial group of women would form four teams – the Rockford Peaches, Racine Belles, Kenosha Comets and South Bend Blue Sox – for the league’s inaugural campaign.

During the circuit’s 11-year run (1943 to 1954), the women were coached on and off-the field. Charm school was part of their Spring Training program. The women donned one-piece, short-skirted uniforms with knee socks, baseball shoes and caps during their grueling schedule. Initially playing with a softball, the women eventually employed a regulation baseball, with overhand pitching permitted starting in 1948. In that same year, the league’s popularity peaked, boasting 10 teams and drawing over a million fans.

With 68 women – or more than 10 per cent of the participants – hailing from north of the border, Canada was well-represented in the AAGPBL. Toronto native, Glady “Terrie” Davis was the league’s first batting champion and a significant number of Canadians were all-stars throughout the league’s tenure. Interest in the circuit was re-ignited with the success of “A League of Their Own,” a 1992 movie about the circuit that starred Madonna, Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. Davis’ character was rumoured to be based on Regina, Sask., native, Mary Baker, an all-star catcher with the South Bend Blue Sox from 1943 to 1949.

To learn more about the AAGPBL click HERE.

Photo
Top Row L-R: Jeanne Gilchrist, Lee Surkowski Delmonico, Martha Rommelaere Manning, Lucella MacLean Ross, Audrey Haine Daniels, Janet Anderson Perkin
Middle Row L-R: Margaret Callaghan Maxwell, Mildred Warwick McAuley, Penny O’Brian Cooke, Key Heim McDaniel
Front Row L-R: Elsie Wingrove Earl, Anne Surkowski Deyotte, Betty Carveth Dunn, Terry Donahue, Ruth Middleton Gentry
Missing from photo: Colleen Smith McCulloch and Arleene Johnson Noga

A list of all 68 Canadian ladies to play in the AAGPBL:

Velma Abbott
Mary Baker
Barbara Barbaze
Doris Barr
Christine Beckett
Catherine Bennett
Ethel Boyce
Eleanor Callow
Muriel Coben
Dorothy Cook
Mary Penny Cooke
Audrey Daniels
Gladys Davis
Marguerite Davis
Lee Delmonico
Anne Deyotte
Terry Donahue
Betty Dunn
Julianna Dusanko
Elsie Earl
June Emerson
Helen Fox
Ruth Gentry
Jeanne Gilchrist
Thelma Golden
Olga Grant
Marjorie Hanna
Irene Headin
Lillian Hickey
Agnes Holmes
Thelma Hundeby
Dorothy Hunter
Alice Janowski
Daisy Junor
Dorothy Key
Mary Shastal & Kustra
Olive Little
Martha Manning
Ruby Martz
Ruth Mason
Margaret Maxwell
Mildred McAuley
Ethel McCreary
Colleen McCulloch
Lex McCutchan
Kay McDaniel
Anne Jane McFarlane
Genevieve McFaul
Evelyn Moroz
Doreen/Betty Allen & Mullins
Arleene Noga
Vickie Panos
Janet Perkin
Virginia Piersol
Erla Jean Reynolds
Lucella Ross
Helen Sandiford
Joan Schatz
Yolande Schick
June Schofield
Shirley Smith
Helen St Aubin / Candaele
Marion Stanton
Mae Starck
Thelma Walmsley
Elizabeth “Betty” Wicken
Hazel Wildfong
Doris Witiuk