Women in Baseball – Central Illinois Gals

Women in Baseball – Central Illinois Gals

One of the earliest memories that I have was in kindergarten when the teacher asked us to write what you want to be then you grow up. I remember putting ‘athlete’. I remember putting that, and my teacher said, “You can’t be an athlete, Sarah.” She was a nun. I went to Catholic school. I remember her telling me that, and I was so disappointed. I said, “but why not?” And she said, Girls aren’t athletes, Sarah. Only boys are athletes.”

In 1988 by Sarah Gascon (from “A Game of Their Own” by Jennifer Ring)

Sarah Gascon is now a world-class handball player for the USA

 

The Women in Baseball movement is real. It took the movie that was directed by the late Penny Marshall called, “A League of Their Own” to revitalize this topic. In fact, this movie is the highest-grossing baseball movie ever made. It is just ahead of the Jackie Robinson movie “42”. There are women now playing in colleges, leagues, and lower levels of the game. There are umpires that are female in the minor leagues along with baseball executives in the major leagues. There is a long history of women that have been owners of major league teams with varying degrees of success including Helene Robison Britton as the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals for six years beginning in 1912.

On this blog, I will try to touch on the many aspects of baseball and the role women played in it. It will likely begin around September 10-20.

The following schedule has been set:

  • August 7- AAGPBL Formation History
  • August 14- AAGPBL- Rules of Conduct
  • August 21- AAGPBL- Charm School
  • August 28- none
  • September 4 and every Wednesday- Player Bios from Central Illinois players

 

I want to be sure to feature those that were born around Central Illinois that played professional baseball in the AAGPBL. If you know of someone that needs to be featured, send me a message. I currently have a list of local gals that I may feature if I can find enough information from my research.  They will be done in a random order but here is the player list and the city they were born in. Also, the names in parentheses are their married name and many played before marriage.

  • Amy Irene Applegren – Peoria
  • Helen Westerman (Austin)- Springfield
  • Mildred Baker- Peoria
  • Mary Rudis (Bestovic)- Springfield
  • Lila Burk- Peoria
  • Bonnie Cooper- Tremont
  • Elizabeth Dailey- Peoria
  • Carol Damon- Peoria
  • Betsy Wanless (Decker)- Springfield
  • Loretta Flessner- Peoria
  • Betsy Gerring- Peoria
  • June Gilmore (Hawton)- Peoria
  • Mabel Holle- Jacksonville
  • Irene Ives- Peoria
  • Esther Luman (Kelly)- Peoria
  • Irene Kerwin- Peoria
  • Ruth Miller- Jacksonville
  • Janice O’Hara- Beardstown
  • Rose Folder (Powell)- Springfield
  • Mary Elizabeth Farrow (Rapp)- Peoria
  • Marilyn Akin (Shambaugh)- Peoria
  • Emily Stevenson- Champaign
  • Ruth Waca- Peoria

If you know family members of any of these players please alert them to this site and if they want to send copies of memorabilia or talk to me about their relative playing baseball, that would be awesome! tknuppel@gmail.com 

Several of these women are included in the Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball book and I will be using that for biographies. It is a great book from author Leslie A. Heaphy and I recommend it for your reading if you want much more on this topic.

I will be featuring an article about the Peoria Redwings (1946-1951) and the Springfield Sallies (1948).

 

ENJOY!

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