Results tagged ‘ Racine Belles ’

Dirt in the Skirt

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Like most women my age who grew up playing softball and loving baseball, I have seen the movie A League of Their Own about a million times.

03-03-10-Carr_ParadeMagazine.jpgBut I have only seen the ending once.

I just can’t bring myself to watch Dottie Hinson drop the ball in the championship game. I figure maybe if I don’t watch it, they went back and changed the ending and Dottie holds on for the win.

Growing up, I wanted to be Dottie. I want to be covered in dirt, with bruises on my knees, playing the game I love. Dottie had it all – she was smart, beautiful, a hard worker and one heck of an athlete.

Of course, when I was younger, this was just a story. Only as I grew up did I realize that this league was real and there were women just like Dottie who lived out their dreams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

On Saturday, March 27, four women who played in the AAGPBL will be in Cooperstown to celebrate Women’s History Month at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

03-03-10-Carr_Action.jpgDuring a special interview program beginning at 1 p.m., fans have the chance to sit down with Gloria Elliott (Kalamazoo Lassies, Racine/Battle Creek Belles) Sarah Jane Ferguson (Rockford Peaches), Joanne McComb (Springfield Sallies) and Dolly Brumfield White (South Bend Blue Sox, Kenosha Comets, Fort Wayne Daisies). Tickets for the program are free. Members may reserve their tickets now, by calling (607)547-0397. Any remaining tickets will be available to the general public beginning Monday, March 22.

These amazing women will give first-hand accounts of their experiences playing the game they loved. They will relate memories of the good and bad parts of playing baseball – stories that years from now will only be found in books.

Other events will take place throughout the day to commemorate women in baseball, including artifact spotlight presentations, and a special 11 a.m. lecture on the history of women in baseball given by the Hall of Fame’s director of research, Tim Wiles.

Make sure you get your tickets today, and join in celebrating these special women who – just like me – miss the dirt.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Giving Back to the Game

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

With more than 17,000 men having played major league baseball, little boys have plenty of baseball role models to look up to.

For girls, it is not always so easy.

Norma Metrolis, 84, passed away Tuesday at her home in Melbourne Beach, Fla. For five of those 84 years, “Trolley”, as she was known, was a catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

02-03-10-Carr_Metrolis.jpgMetrolis last visited the Hall of Fame with a group of family and friends in September, happily autographing her baseball cards and posing for photos with visitors in the Museum. During a visit to the Hall of Fame Library, Metrolis pored through photos and clippings of her baseball career, telling stories and sharing memories.

Metrolis serves as a role model for me – a former college softball player – and for all of us girls who grew up loving baseball and spending our weekends covered in dirt and learning how to be tough when a ball took a bad hop and got you in the chin.

Debuting in the AAGPBL at age 19, Metrolis played for the Muskegon Lassies, Racine Belles, South Bend Blue Sox, Peoria Red Wings and Fort Wayne Daisies during her professional days. She adjusted from catching a softball to catching a baseball and even traveled to Cuba with the league to promote the game.

And she did all of this in a skirt.

When the league folded, these women didn’t have a place to play, so they went back to normal life. Metrolis spent thirty years working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a fruit and vegetable inspector. After retirement, Metrolis kept giving back to the game. She spent her free time golfing (she is credited with six hole-in-ones) and working at the Rebel Spring Games, a college softball tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.

Her family is arranging a celebration of Metrolis’s life, and donations may be made to the Rebel Spring Games for a softball player scholarship fund for college women.

Even after she’s gone, Norma Metrolis is finding a way to make little girls’ baseball dreams come true.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Former AAGPBL pitcher makes the pilgrimage

Wiles_90.jpgBy 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).

8-10-09-Wiles_Jacobs.jpgBadini, 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.



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