The South Bend Blue Sox

A History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Team and Its Players, 1943–1954


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About the Book

Immortalized in the film A League of Their Own, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League debuted in 1943 as a way to fill ballpark seats should Major League Baseball suspend operations during World War II. Any fan expecting to see a watered-down version of the game was in for quite a surprise. The women on the field proved every bit as tough and competitive as their male counterparts, running with abandon, diving for catches, and sliding fearlessly, all while wearing uniforms with short skirts. This work examines the history of the league as seen through the eyes of the players and management and the experiences of the South Bend Blue Sox—one of only two teams to play in all 12 seasons of the league. Although players never saw themselves as revolutionaries, these daring heroines helped pave the way toward greater freedom of choice for the generations of women who followed.

About the Author(s)

Jim Sargent, a longtime professor of American history, retired as dean of the Social Science Division at Virginia Western Community College in 2010. Before that, he taught on the college and university level for more than 30 years. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.
Robert M. Gorman is a retired university reference librarian with more than 40 years of professional research experience. He received the 2009 Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award for the book he and David Weeks wrote, Death at the Ballpark (McFarland, 2009). He lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Sargent and Robert M. Gorman
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 302
Bibliographic Info: 48 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4647-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8864-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Forewords by Three South Bend Blue Sox (Betsy Jochum, Sue Kidd, Jean Faut)      1

Preface      5

Introduction      9

1. The Blue Sox and the All-American League: 1943      11

2. South Bend’s Second Winning Season: 1944      31

3. The Last Wartime Season: 1945      52

4. Making the Playoffs in the First Postwar Season: 1946      72

5. Havana Adventure, Sidearm Pitching, and the Playoffs Again: 1947      94

6. Overhand Pitching and the Ten-Team League: 1948      117

7. The Blue Sox and the Peaches Win the Pennant: 1949      137

8. The League Crisis and Fifth Place: 1950      157

9. South Bend Wins the Shaughnessy Championship: 1951      177

10. Champions Again—The Beautiful Dozen: 1952      200

11. The Blue Sox and the League Struggle: 1953      220

12. The Final Innings: 1954      239

Appendix: South Bend Roster, 1943–1954      261

Chapter Notes      263

Bibliography      285

Index      287

Book Reviews & Awards

“a carefully researched, detailed, and thoroughly documented study”—Nine; “Based on extensive primary-source research, this book is the most comprehensive examination of a single team from the AAGPBL.”—Leslie Heaphy, Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball.