AAGPBL launched with great fanfare in 1943
Originally recognized as a nonprofit affiliated with the Cubs, the AAGPBL would flourish for over a decade from 1943-1954.
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“Professional women’s softball can and will stand squarely on its own feet,” said the founders, in a statement in February of 1943. The league held tryouts in May 1943, just a few months after it was founded.
Indeed, throughout its existence the AAGPBL maintained strict Rules of Conduct for all its players, which required women to “always appear in feminine attire when not actively engaged in practice or playing ball,” and a suggested beauty routine.
Four teams competed in that inaugural season: the Racine Belles, South Bend Blue Sox, Kenosha Comets and Rockford Peaches.
Over the years the league doubled in size, with more than 600 women competing during the AAGPBL’s 12 seasons.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Diamond Dreams exhibit features many artifacts from the AAGPBL, including uniforms and equipment.
Isabelle Minasian was the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum