Francis: Ann Meyers Drysdale remembers her Hall of Fame husband

From SABR member Bill Francis at on March 20, 2015:

Ann Meyers Drysdale is forever at home in Cooperstown. But the widow of Hall of Famer Don Drysdale is also very familiar to fans of March Madness – as one of the greatest female basketball players in United States history.

The California native, the sixth oldest in a family of 11 children, was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA, where she was a member of Kodak’s All-America team in four straight seasons. Only 5-foot-9, she was a member of the first United States women’s Olympic basketball team in 1976, helping the squad capture a Silver Medal, then led the Bruins to a basketball national championship in 1978.

Her fame exploded in 1979 when she became the first women to be signed to a contract by a NBA team. Though ultimately cut by the Indiana Pacers during a preseason tryout camp, she has continued to stay involved with the game as a player, broadcaster and front office executive.

Along the way she met Don Drysdale, the former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who won 209 games during his Hall of Fame career. Married in 1986, the couple had three children before he passed away at the age of 56 in 1993.

During a recent telephone interview from her home in Huntington Beach, Calif., Ann Meyers Drysdale, the 1993 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who will celebrate her 60th birthday on March 26, talked about life both on and off the court.

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Originally published: March 21, 2015. Last Updated: March 21, 2015.