Swing and a Miss

When World War II came to America, baseball was one of the early victims. Many Major League players were in their early 20s and, therefore, subject to the draft. Ted Williams, for example, missed three seasons — 1943 to 1945 — due to military service. Then commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to ask if the league should suspend operations altogether; FDR wrote a famous letter (here) giving the league the “green light” to continue playing. But with rosters tight, baseball had to find other avenues to stay in the public eye. In 1944, the Cincinnati Reds brought a 15 year old kid in to pitch (who, in the Reds’ defense, would later have a lengthy career). And most notably, the owner of the Cubs, Philip K. Wrigley (of chewing gum fame) started the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943. While many know about the AAGPBL due to the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, few realize that women played professional, minor league baseball until 1931. That year,  a young woman named Jackie Mitchell ended women’s hopes of breaking into the big leagues. How? By striking out Babe Ruth. And, for good measure, she struck out Lou … Continue reading Swing and a Miss