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  • Writer's pictureJames Sargent

All-American Girls

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

EXCERPT from “Brief History” of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, in Jim Sargent, We Were the All-American Girls (McFarland, Inc., 2013), page 8:

Ballparks are where people go to dream in public, and there was a time in America when women enjoyed baseball dreams of their own as well as the opportunity to realize them. Indeed, the ballparks and the stadiums that hosted the fast-paced games of the historic All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and the early 1950s were not much different than the men’s ballparks of the era. Further, the girls who populated the league’s teams – the 1948 season featured a peak of ten ball clubs – were first-rate athletes who had succeeded against stiff athletic competition as well as the low expectations in a traditionally male-oriented culture to play baseball, not softball, in the best women’s circuit in the country. The virtually universal reaction of fans, male and female, was that they came out to the ballpark for the fun of seeing girls playing ball in skirted uniforms, but they returned because they enjoyed the skill level of the players and the excitement and the competitive quality of the games.

Terry Donahue, an infielder turned catcher who grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, spent four seasons playing for the Peoria Redwings after World War II. Terry lived all four years with the Turnbull family in Peoria, and she remembered Lloyd Turnbull’s comment about her first game: “We’re going out to the game, and we’ll have a good laugh about women playing ball in skirts!” Years later, Terry observed, “When they came out and saw how well we played, they never missed a game.” Donahue’s experience was witnessed by other players over and over again.

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