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When the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Reigned

By HERWriter
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the reign of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Hemera/Thinkstock

During the years of World War II the absence of so many men gave rise to many changes for the folks back home. One of those changes was the decline of Major League Baseball.

Philip K. Wrigley did something about that, by bringing the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League into existence.

Between 1943 and 1954, women from Canada and the United States did their bit for the cause -- the cause of baseball, that is.

There were four teams with women in the beginning. By the end of it all, there were fourteen teams that belonged to the AAGPBL

But women were playing baseball before the league began. It was a challenge though, in the 1870s, since the basic uniform was made up of a blouse with a high neck and long sleeves, a floor-length skirt and assorted underskirts, and high button shoes.

In the 1890s something snapped, and Amelia Bloomer created a newer, kinder uniform. Bloomer Girls baseball players wore loose trousers with the women's names on them.

The female teams, each fortified with at least one man, travelled across the country, playing local men's teams. The women beat the men's teams frequently.

Hundreds of Bloomer teams made it possible for women to play their way with pay throughout the United States until 1934.

Gradually the minor league teams were filled with more men and with fewer women. The women were viewed by the public as being second-best next to the men.

When the Bloomer Girls were done, so was women's professional baseball.

All that changed with Wrigley's female softball league, which over a dozen years was honed into the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The game played was hampered by the players' long skirts, but it was real baseball.

But history repeated itself when the men returned after the War, and men's major league baseball was being televised. Once again, women's teams disappeared back in the shadows.

Things seemed to improve for the women for a moment when in 1952 Eleanor Engle was signed to a minor league team called the AA Harrisburg Senators.

Two days later, however, the head of the minor leagues George Trautman voided her contract.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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