The All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League: Part 1

In 1942 the world was at war, and in the young men of the US starting from 18 years of age were taken into the army. Because of this, the sports leagues, specifically the Major League Baseball Parks across the country were on the brink of collapse. They were trying to find a way to keep baseball leagues up and running. During that time Philip Wrigley, a chewing-gum businessman, whose father passed on the Chicago Cubs to his son, tried to come up with a solution to solve this dilemma. After long conversations with the baseball committee, it has been decided that the girls’ softball league is to be established to keep the fans coming to the games. 

With this plan in mind and financial support from Philip Wrigley, the All-American Girls Softball League was established in the spring of 1943. The league was formed as a non-profit organization and was supported by a board of trustees. However, midway into the first season of the games, the league was renamed to the All-American Girls Baseball League (AAGBBL) to draw a line between the current softball teams. The AAGBBL was following the same rules of baseball as in the Major League Baseball, thus they had to change their name. For many years up until 1988, the league has been re-named multiple times for various reasons. When finally, in 1988 the league was recognized for what it actually was: the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).

When Philip Wrigley became one of the first people to bring ideas and money to the table, he had different visions that were not approved by the trustee committee. The consensus was achieved when the teams were forming in the spring of 1943. During that time, the call for All-American Girls Softball League drew the attention of more than 300 women from all over the United States and Canada. After the players were chosen, the people responsible for team formations and strategic planning took over.

old baseball ball

The teams consisted of fifteen players, a manager (coach), a woman chaperone, and a business manager. The trustee committee believed that having famous men sports figures on board as managers of the girls’ team would attract more people to come to the games. Once the technical part of the team selection was in place, all the girls who wanted to be a part of the league had to prove they were worthy of being on the team. Thus, began the selection process.

The girls had to be tested on their abilities in throwing, catching, running, sliding and hitting. The selection process was so brutal, that some of the girls were afraid they would be asked to pack their bags and leave. The stakes were too high for them. Offered salaries ranged from $45 to $85 a week and more. These numbers were higher than what the girls’ parents were making back at home. In addition, the girls had to attend the evening charm school classes. Philip Wrigley did not want the female players to be like men – yelling and cursing on the field.

Women in baseball © 2020