Looking Back at the AAGPBL

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. What a time it was, not just for women, but for baseball fans everywhere. We’re just a few days away from the anniversary of the league’s very first game, nearly a century ago. Even though it was an amazing feat for female athletes everywhere, the awareness of the league and girl baseball players was very minimal; and still to this day there are many who are in disbelief that the league was a real thing. But thanks to the movie A League of Their Own, the awareness of women in baseball was increased, as was the knowledge of the former women’s league.

The league began in 1943, following the start of World War 2. With many baseball players getting drafted to go fight for their country, this left ballparks empty and without any sense of revenue. This is when Philip Wrigley proposed that they needed a way to fill out those vacant seats and appointed Ken Sells and others to come up with the idea. And bless their hearts, as they came up with the genius idea of letting the women play. Regardless of the criticism and backlash they faced from many, they pushed on and made it happen.

Photo via Teambrown

However, baseball for girls was not like the traditional baseball fans were used to seeing. In order to feminize the game as much as possible to focus more on looks rather than play, the league had many rules on the players appearance. For one, they were forced to play in short dresses, all while being expected to slide and play baseball as if they were in pants. Furthermore, every player was expected to go to charm school and follow their rules. There they learned how to properly act like a lady and look like one, too. They learned the correct way to apply their makeup, what hairstyle made them look best, wholesome etiquette, and many other things to make them appear as the typical all-American girl. These requirements even continued on to the field of play. You could see that, while watching these ladies play, the players were more likely to be caught stealing than to be caught without makeup and hair done during the games.

Photo via Bettmann Archive

Women didn’t leave baseball, but baseball sure left women. Taken away as quickly as it was given, female baseball players could no longer compete at a professional level, nor dream of making money through their passion. As soon as the men returned from war, the women returned to the kitchen and a professional league endorsed by the MLB has yet to come back. Women across the globe enjoy the sport and enjoy it even more when they get to play, but baseball left them without giving anything in return. Hopefully we see a change for the better soon, but this is a discussion for another day so stay tuned!

God Bless, Ephesians 5:20

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