An All-American Girls Softball League program from 1943. Photo courtesy of www.prairiestarproductions.com.
Happy anniversary, ladies!
February 20, 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the drafting of the charter for the "All-American Girls Softball League," as the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was originally named.
Pioneering owners Philip Wrigley of the Cubs and Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers conceived of the League and drafted the original charter, as described in this post by the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum on the organization's Facebook page.
The AAGSBL was created as a replacement to men's baseball, as a way of keeping fans involved in the game and going to baseball stadiums if Major League baseball was suspended because of manpower shortages or security issues associated with World War II, as Wrigley, Rickey and other owners feared.
In 1943 the AAGBSL played a modified form of softball, according to Wikipedia and AAGPBL.org.
As in softball, pitchers threw underhand, windmill-style using a regulation size softball. As in baseball, however, AAGBSL hurlers pitched from an elevated, baseball-style mound located 40-feet from home plate, closer than that of a regulation softball diamond and shorter than the baseball standard 60-feet-six-inches mound.
Teams fielded nine players, a modification of the standard 1o-players a side in softball, and bases were spaced 65-feet apart, longer than a standard 60-foot softball field and shorter than the 90-foot baseball diamond measurements.
Throughout it's 11 year existence, the AAGSBL would change names and rules, with play and naming conventions reflecting a more baseball-centric game.
Regardless of what it was called, and the specific rules of the game, this much is true: the more than 600 women who took to the diamond in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (as it is now officially known) played a significant role in the history of baseball, and their influence played a profound role in the larger history of women's sports, women's rights and American history and popular culture.
Do any AAGPBLCollectibles.com readers own any original AAGSBL memorabilia? Share what's in your collection by commenting below, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: The focus of this web site is on the memorabilia and collectibles associated with the AAGPBL. The League's history is, obviously, essential to understanding the importance of League, its players and collectibles.
I am not, however, an historian, in the academic-sense. At best, I consider myself an amateur historian. I have tried my best to use reputable, reliable source for any historic information I present. Any errors or ommissions in this post, or anywhere on this web site, are mine alone. If you spot a problem, please email me at email@example.com to alert me of the issue.