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06-30-2017 - A League of Their Own, June 30th 2017

 

A League of Their Own

June 30th 2017

 

On Its 25th Anniversary, "Tom Hanks and the Rockford Peaches proved that a woman's place is at home ... first, second & third."

 

In late 1942, recognizing that World War II could affect professional baseball, chewing gum magnate and MLB executive Philip K. Wrigley had the idea to tap into the popularity of amateur softball and create a women's professional league. Rather than repurposing baseball parks such as Wrigley Field for non-sports-related activities (i.e. circuses, concerts, etc.), a women's league seemed like a viable solution.

Wrigley set off to create and run the All-American Girls Softball League, which was originally formed and headed by three trustees: Wrigley, Paul Harper, a member of the board of directors and attorney for the Chicago Cubs, and Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Arthur Meyerhoff, then head of Wrigley's primary advertising agency, was tapped to publicize the organization and encourage leaders of other cities to participate. (Meyerhoff went on to own the league from 1945 to 1951, and the teams were individually owned from 1951 to 1954.) The organization was later renamed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League due to the fact that the rules, strategy and general play were more similar to baseball than to softball.

At its height, the AAGPBL swelled to 15 squads throughout the Midwest, including the Kalamazoo Lassies, Chicago Colleens, Peoria Redwings and Rockford Peaches, the team that anchored "ALOTO." When the war ended in 1945, the league's popularity began waning, and the last game was played in 1954.




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