Former AAGPBL pitcher makes the pilgrimage
By Tim Wiles
At age 85, Jane Jacobs Badini made her first trip to Cooperstown Friday. ”I will definitely be back,” said the former pitcher for the Racine Belles (1944-45, 1947) and the Peoria Redwings (1946) of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
The native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, made the pilgrimage along with her extended family, Niece Jeannie McCrossin, her husband William McCrossin, and daughters Khloe (17) and Amanda (15).
Badini, known by her maiden name of Jane Jacobs in her ball-playing days, enjoyed the entire museum, but especially the Diamond Dreams exhibit on the history of women in baseball (including, of course the AAGPBL), and an extended visit to the A. Barlett Giamatti Research Center, where she both donated photos and clippings from her career and received copies of other photos from the Hall’s archives. She even helped identify some former teammates who were unidentified in old team photos.
Jacobs was a relief specialist, a control pitcher who specialized in what today are called breaking pitches. An interesting moment in her career came when a male manager ordered her to throw at the head of an opposing hitter. She refused, feeling that the order was unsportsmanlike. The manager benched her for ten days – except when he would get in tight spots and need to bring in his “fireman.”
These days Badini, who is retired from a career owning a dry cleaning shop which also offers ceramics, spends her time speaking to kids groups about fair play, sportsmanship, and the history of the AAGPBL, which the kids all know about because of the popular movie A League of Their Own.
Tim Wiles is the direcotr of research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.