SABR

Dropping the Pitch: Leona Kearns, Eddie Ainsmith and the Philadelphia Bobbies

By Barbara Gregorich

This article was published in the 2013 The National Pastime.

Leona Kearns was a young woman, a teenage pitcher during the Roaring Twenties. Eddie Ainsmith was once a major-league catcher. When their lives intersected, tragedy was the result. Back when automobiles were rare and baseball players heroes, Claude and Evalina Gard Kearns raised seven children in the small town of West Union, Illinois: Russell, Forest, Louise, Leona, Jeannette, Nellie, and Roy. Agent-in-charge for the New York Central Line, Claude worked in the depot, where he was also the local Western Union operator. Eva ran the household. “Mom was strict . . .

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