From SABR member Erica Block at Cronkite News on November 4, 2019, with mention of SABR members Kat Williams, Leslie Heaphy, Perry Barber:
Most people associate Rockford, Illinois, with the Rockford Peaches, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team depicted in Penny Marshall’s 1992 film “A League of Their Own.”
A few years from now, Rockford may be the home of women’s baseball.
Yes, you read that correctly. Women’s baseball. There’s a long history of girls and women in baseball that surprises many fans, even those well-versed in the game, said Kat Williams, the president of the International Women’s Baseball Center, who was in Scottsdale in October for the SABR Women in Baseball conference.
“They’re unaware that women have been part of baseball in every aspect of the sport since the inception of the game,” Williams said. “(Women’s baseball) did not start in 1943 with the AAGPBL (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) and it did not end with them in 1954.”
The problem is that baseball historians don’t know much about the “bloomer girls” teams that barnstormed across America beginning in the late 1870s. Although records of men’s baseball from that time are detailed enough to note that Boston Red Caps pitcher Tommy Bond had 43 wins during the 1879 season, our knowledge of women ballplayers from that era is severely limited.
Thanks to the work of historians, we know a few names, such as Maud Nelson and Lizzie Murphy, but for the most part, the stories of these athletes have been lost. We can only imagine what amazing feats these women accomplished.
Read the full article here: https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/11/04/theres-no-denying-in-baseball-remembering-the-women-who-played-the-game/
- Related link: For photos and highlights from the 2019 SABR/IWBC Arizona Fall League Experience, visit SABR.org/AFL
Originally published: November 4, 2019. Last Updated: November 4, 2019.