Welcome to AAGPBLCollectibles.com

This is an online community for collectors of sports cards and memorabilia associated with the women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), the WWII-era women's baseball league featured in the hit movie, A League of Their Own.

The goal of this site is to document the history of the AAGPBL and its associated memorabilia, as well as to foster a community where like-minded collectors can share resources, trade/sell/buy memorabilia, swap collecting stories and experiences, and enhance the collecting experiences of other site users.

There is no registration required to view this site, but only registered members may post entries, add photos, etc. Guest authors can click here to learn more about posting.

You can also follow AAGPBLCollectibles.com postings via  Twitter (@AAGPBLcollector) and Facebook. Email aagpblcollectibles@gmail.com to get in touch.


Obituary: Josephine D'Angelo

Josephine D'Angelo Fritsch Card
Josephine D'Angelo's Larry Fritsch AAGPBL card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBL.org.

Former AAGPBL player Josephine "JoJo" D'Angelo died August 18, 2013, according to this obituary from the Chicago Tribune. She was 88-years-old.

An original member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Josephine played two seasons -- 1943 and 1944 -- with the South Bend Blue Sox.

A utility outfielder and solid contact hitter, Josephine was named an All-Star in 1943, according to the Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball by Leslie Heaphy.

She holds the career record for fewest Ks, according to W.C. Madden's The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary.

Offered more money to play in the National Girls Baseball League, Josephine was lured away from the Blue Sox by the Chicago Bandits of the NGBL in 1945. 

Josephine is the subject of card #250 (Series #2) in the Larry Fritsch All-American Girls Professional Baseball League cards. The Series 2 set sells for $10 on the company's web site. 

Singles generally sell for $1-$3 on eBay and Amazon.com. None of Josephine's cards were available on either web site as of this listing, however. Her Fristch card is available in the Beckett Marketplace for $1.

A first day cover signed by Josephine is available on eBay.

Do you know of any other Josephine D'Angelo cards or memorabilia? Did you ever have the chance to meet the former AAGPBL All-Star? Let AAGPBLcollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.


70th Anniversary Reunion To Be Held in Chicago 9/4-9/8

AAGPBL 70th Anniversary Logo
AAGPBL 70th Anniversary Logo. Courtesy of CooperstownCookie.com.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association will hold its annual reunion from September 4-8, 2013 in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

This year's event coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the league.

On Saturday, September 7, former players will be at the Oak Brook Historical Society and the nearby Oak Brook Park District  baseball fields where the Associate members will play a ball game against the Rockford Peaches Enactment Women's Team.

Former players will meet members of the public at these venues from approximately 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (all times Central) to take pictures and sign autographs.

Other portions of the reunion are available only to league alumnae and current AAGPBL-PA associate members who registered for the event prior to August 15.

I was privileged to attend the 2004 Reunion in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the 2007 Reunion in Rockford, IL, and the 2010 Reunion in Detroit, MI.

Mary Pratt signing
Mary Pratt signs autographs at the 2010 AAGPBL reunion.
Photo by Joshua Platt.

These events drew between 40-60 former players, along with their family members, friends and numerous AAGPBL associate members.

Players are generous with fans and collectors. It has been my experience that they are willing to chat, take pictures and sign autographs for all comers. Many alumnae even provide fans with their own baseball cards and photos.

While the precise number of AAGPBL alumnae who will attend the Chicago festivities remains to abe seen, Among the guests scheduled to attend portions of this year's reunion will be several baseball historians and authors.

These include:

AAGPBL book collectors to purchase these books from Amazon.com using the links above. Ms. Mills' web site offers collectors the chance to buy autographed books directly.

2007 Rockford Reunion
Former Rockford Peaches gather at the gates of the old ball park during the 2007 AAGPBL reunion.
Photo by Joshua Platt.
In addition to the opportunity to mingle with the players and witness history -- in 2007, I watched as a group of former Rockford Peaches gather at the gates of the old ball park! -- the reunions also offer AAGPBL collectors the chance to buy unique memorabilia, some found only at the reunions.

I've previously purchased reunion t-shirts, pins, mini bats and posters. The banquet usually includes a commemorative program. And, at past events, officially licensed vendors have sold baseball cards (including the scarce Sharon Roepke card sets), calendars, photos, team patches and other AAGPBL collectibles in attendee lounge areas, which have not open to members of the general public. 

Public venues usually have a variety of memorabilia for sale, too. In 2007, the Rockford historical center gift shop offered bobble heads, pennants and books, for example.

The reunions are also a venue for AAGPBL collectors to trade stories, swap cards, and enguage in conversations. The 2013 Reunion will include a display of memorabilia assembled over the years by long-time fan and collector Carol Sheldon.

Will you be attending the 2013 AAGPBL Reunion? Do you know of players or associates who might be. What collectibles are you looking to purchase or have signed while in Chicago?

Let AAGPBLcollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.


 

 


Annabelle Lee Goldpanners Card

Of the more than 600 women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, at least three had male relatives who became Major League Baseball players.

Helen Callaghan is the the mother of journeyman utility player Casey Candaele. According to Wikipedia, Helen and Casey comprise the only mother/son combination in professional baseball. Casey's aunt, Margaret (Helen's sister) also played in the AAGPBL.

While not a direct relation, former Red Sox lefty Bill "Spaceman" Lee also has ties to the League.

His aunt, Annabelle "Lefty" Lee hurled a perfect game and a no-hitter, on her way to a career 63-96 record, according to The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary.

Well after his Major League career was finished, Bill Lee pitched for the Alaska Goldpanners in the 2008 "Midnight Sun" baseball game. He was accompanied to the game by Annabelle.

Annabelle Lee Goldpanners card
2008 Alaska Goldpanners Annabelle Lee card.
The 2008 Goldpanners card set features images of Bill Lee on the rear of the standard player cards. Card #21, which features picthers Tyler Duran and Ben Jones on the front, includes a picture of Annabelle on the back.

Tim Wiles, Director of Research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum and an enthusiastic collector of AAGPBL and women in baseball memorabilia, made me aware of the card.

I was able to purchase a single of the card for a few dollars from MinorLeague Singles.com.

The card set is also, seemingly, available from the Goldpanner's web site.

In addition to the Goldpanners card, Annabelle is also featured on card #288 (Series #2) of the Larry Fritsch AAGPBL cards. The Series 2 set sells for $10 on the company's web site.

Singles sell for $1-$3 on eBay and in the Beckett Marketplace for a few dollars. None were available on Amazon.com as of this listing.

Annabelle Lee UD card
Annabelle Lee 1994 Upper Deck American Epic card.
Annabelle is also pictured on card #53 of the 1994 Upper Deck American Epic card set, released in conjunction with Ken Burns Baseball. The card sells for $0.25-$10 on Amazon.comeBay and the Beckett Marketplace..

A special issue of the American Epic card was produced by snack cake maker Little Debbie. The card, which shows Annabelle batting, was part of a 15-card series that could be purchased from the company via mail, according to this eBay listing.

The Little Debbie single is not listed for sale on Amazon.com or eBay, as of this posting. It is available in the Beckett Marketplace for $0.25-$3.

The Beckett Marketplace also lists an autographed card, similar in design to the Sharon Roepke AAGBBL cards but likely a card self-produced by Annabelle, for $8.

For collectors who prefer books to cards, Annabelle's career, as are those of the Callaghan sisters, is recapped in W.C. Madden's Biographical Dictionary, the Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball by Leslie Heaphy, Lois Browne's Girls of Summer: In Their Own League, and Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball by Barbara Gregorich.

Do you have the Annabelle Lee Goldpanners card. Do you know of any other of her cards or collectibles? Let AAGPBLcollectibles.com readers know by commenting below.


70th Anniversary of the Charter for the 'All-American Girls Softball League'

AAGSBL Program
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  aagpblcollectibles@gmail.com.

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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 aagpblcollectibles@gmail.com to alert me of the issue.


Obituary: Sophie Kurys, 'The Flint Flash'

Sophie Kurys Sharon Roepke red card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBLorg.
Sophie Kurys Sharon Roepke red card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBLorg.
Former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player Sophie "The Flint Flash" Kurys died February 17, 2013 at age 87, according to various reports, including this obituary and a rememberance on FOXSports.com.

Kurys is described in a Facebook commemoration by Sue Macy, author of A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as the "best base stealer in the game, male or female."

Signing a contract to play in the AAGPBL in 1943 at age 17, Sophie went on to become one of the League's best players.

In 1946, Sophie was named AAGPBL Player of the Year, batting .286 while swiping 201 bags in 203 attempts, scoring 119 runs and boasting a .973 fielding percentage.

She threw out the first pitch before the Detroit Tigers game on August 5, 2010 at Comerica Park, during a ceremony honoring AAGPBL alumni during their league reunion.

AAGPBL enthusiasts have access to numerous Sophie Kurys collectibles.

Among them are a Sharon Roepke baseball card (Red, #14) pictured above left. The Roepke cards were produced in limited quantities and are scarce, occasionally popping up on eBay as singles or sets.

Sophie Kurys 1994 Ted Williams card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBLcollectibles.com.
Sophie Kurys 1994 Ted Williams card.
Photo courtesy of AAGPBLcollectibles.com.
Sophie is also featured in the 1994 Ted Williams card set (#97). These cards are readily available on eBay, Amazon.com and in the Beckett.com Marketplace for $2 or less, with autographed cards selling for $15-$20 or more.

Curiously, The Flint Flash is not included in the Larry Fritsch AAGPBL card sets.

Collectors of vintage baseball magazines can find Sophie's image gracing the back cover of the 1947 Dell Major League Baseball guide, with Stan Musial on the front cover. If one is, indeed, judged by the company they keep, Sophie was in excellent company!

These guides sell on eBay for between $10-$50, depending on condition. As of this posting, no Amazon.com sellers were offering the magazine.

Sophie's diamond exploits are also well-chronicled in numerous books about the AAGBPL, including The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary,Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball, Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball, and Women in Baseball.

For additional books, visit the AAGPBLCollectibles.com Amazon A-Store. A portion of any commissions paid to AAGPBLCollectibles.com will be donated to the AAGPBL Players Association and other institutions supporting the preservation of AAGPBL history and memorabilia.

An active member of the AAGPBL Players Association, Sophie was a generous through-the-mail signer of autographs. I corresponded with her in 2002-2003, and she gladly signed a card and photo for me, which I am honored to have in my AAGPBL collection.

Did any AAGPBLCollectibles.com readers have the opportunity to meet Sophie? Share your favorite memory of "The Flint Flash" by leaving a comment below.


Doris Cook, Rosemary Stevenson Present 'When Women Played Hard Ball'

AAGPBL alumnae Doris Cook and Rosemary Stevenson presented "When Women Played Hard Ball" event on Tuesday, February 5, in Holland, Michigan, according to this article from the Holland Sentinel.

The presentation was held in conjunction with the National Girls and Women in Sports Day sponsored by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Doris and Rosemary have baseball cards and other memorabilia available to AAGBPL collectors.

Doris is featured in the Lary Fritsch card set (#189, Series 1) and on a card issued in 2009 by Grandstand. Her Fristch cards are occasionally available through the Beckett Marketplace, and sell on eBay for as much as $10 when signed cards hit the auction block.

Doris Cook Grandstand Card
Doris Cook Grandstand Card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBLCollectibles.com.
An Amazon seller is offering Doris's Grandstand card for $22.53. The same Amazon seller is offering an autographed first day cover on Amazon for $22.53 as of the time of this posting.

Rosemary Stevenson Fristch card
Signed Rosemary Stevenson Fristch card. Photo courtesy of AAGPBLCollectibles.com.

Roosemary also has a card in the Fristch set (#189, Series 1).

Her cards sell for approximately $3 for unsigned singles on Amazon.com and for similar prices, when available, in the Beckett Marketplace. Rosemary's autographed cards are going for $7-15 on eBay.

A first day cover signed by Rosemary was available on Amazon.com and a signed index card was on eBay for purchase by collectors at the time of this posting.

Rosemary is also the author of Don't Die on Third, a very readable, 88-page autobiography. Copies are available on Amazon for for $18-$30.

I am proud to have a signed copy of Rosemary's autobiography on my AAGPBL bookshelf.

For other collectors with a penchant for books, Doris and Rosemary are included in The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball.

Did any AAGPBLCollectibles.com readers have the chance to attend Doris and Rosemary's presentation? Share your stories about the event by commenting below. You can also email aagpblcollectibles@gmail.com.


Reading Phillies To Host AAGPBL Players 8/19

The Reading Phillies, the AA Eastern League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, will host nine AAGPBL alumnae for a meet-and-greet and autograph session at the team's Thursday, August 19 game.

According to the team's media advisory, "the nine former players, who will be represented at [the] game, feature a Pennridge - Quarkertown Hall of Famer, the winning pitcher of the 1954 All-Star game, a "Queen of Baseballtown", and other greats."

Scheduled to appear are:

  • Genine Noella Alverson (Noella LeDuc) played outfield and pitcher for the Peorla Redwings (1951), Battle Creek Belles (1952), Kalamazoo Lassies (1953), and the Fort Wayne Dasies (1954). In 1954, "Pinky" was the winning pitcher of the All-Star Game.

  • Gertrude Benner (Gertrude Alderfer) played first base for two seasons in the AAGPBL. She played for the Springfield Sallies in 1949, and both the Chicago Colleens and the Kalamazoo Lassies in 1950. Benner is a member of the Pennridge - Quakertown Hall of Fame.

  • Gloria Cordes - Elliott (Gloria Cordes) was a pitcher for the Racine Belles from 1950-1952 and the Kalamazoo Lassies from 1953-1954. In 1952, Gloria pitched 24 consecutive complete games and won 16 - Lost 8 with a 1.44 ERA.

  • Sarah Jane "Salty" Sands Ferguson (Sarah Jane Sands) played right field and catcher for the Rockford Peaches (1953-1954). In 1954, "Salty" made 2nd Team All-Stars and in 136 games only had 14 errors and had 24 assists from right field.

  • Ruth Hartman (Ruth "Rocky" Kramer) played second base and pitcher for the Racine Belles (1948) and the Fort Wayne Daisies (1946-1947). Ruth was named as the "Queen of Baseballtown" in 2008. She was also named Most Valuable Player for the Erie Skippers of the ASA Softball League during her career.

  • Amy Jurasinski (Amy Shuman) played first base for the South Bend Blue Sox (1946).

  • Virginia "Jean" Ventura Manina (Virginia Ventura) played first base for the Rockford Peaches (1951-1953). Manina also played for the Chicago softball winter league in 1952.

  • Joanne "Jo" McComb played first base for the Springfield Sallies in 1950. Bloomsburg University established the "Joanne McComb Outstanding Female Athlete Underclassmen Award".

  • Jane Moffet played catcher and outfield for the Springfield Sallies (1949, 1950) and the Kalamazoo Lassies (1951-1952).


The ladies are typically generous in-person signers, often signing multiples, personalizing and inscribing autographs, and willing to pose for pictures with fans.

Is anyone planning to go? If so, will you share pictures?