Keyser: When women played baseball: remembering the AAGPBL

From Hannah Keyser at Deadspin on August 17, 2017, with mention of SABR member Justine Siegal:

I went to Rockford, Ill. to watch girls play baseball 63 years after the real Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League played their last season and 25 years after A League Of Their Own introduced their story to a new generation. The Peaches were the most successful team of the short-lived AAGPBL, winning the championship four out of the 12 seasons, but I imagine it was Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and the memorable lines of the 1992 movie that put Rockford on the cultural consciousness map.

Baseball for All, a nonprofit started by Justine Siegal to promote girls’ baseball, took their national tournament, now in its third year, to Rockford to capitalize on this history. More than 200 girls across 17 teams—many of whom had never played together—descended on the city for a long weekend of baseball. Siegal, whose two-week stint with the A’s in 2015 made her the first woman to coach for a Major League Baseball club, organizes many of the teams herself by grouping individuals who reach out to her by age and region. Without a centralized governing body for girls baseball, this is a painstakingly slow process that relies on word-of-mouth or dedicated parents whose daughters have been discriminated against looking for an outlet. So far the effort has paid off. Several of the regional teams that formed for the first two tournaments continued to play together, although rarely against other girls.

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Originally published: August 17, 2017. Last Updated: August 17, 2017.