Baseball has taken over our society. It has been there in both times of national pain and triumph. Marching along day by day and game by game, it has lent itself to our country, sometimes as a mirror of ourselves as well as a sign of progress in our society. For many fans it is hard to see beyond the scope of Major League Baseball. It is a power house that has overtaken our world in many ways, but how was it before MLB ruled our land. Baseball as a whole, across many leagues and generations has a rich and varied history and todays book takes a look at one of those amazing chapters.
The 2015 version of Belles of the Ballpark is a re-issue of a previously released version of 1993. Helmer and Owens have taken an in-depth look at the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. If you thought you knew the real story of the AAGPBL from watching the movie A League of Their Own, you were mistaken. There is so much more to the story that could ever be covered by one two-hour movie.
The authors walk you through the birth of the league, The brain child of one of the MLB owners, it shows how the teams were constructed, staffed, players scouted and how they chose locales for the teams. It also shows how women were given the opportunity to play what was widely considered a man’s game. In a time when society standards for women were much different from today, this book shows what pioneers these players actually were.
The reader sees the economic growth and struggles of the league along with overwhelming popularity of the players in the local areas. This re-issue also provides some interviews with former players and it is interesting see how fond the former players are of their time in the league. It must have been a wonderful experience to be part of this league and only decades later realize what a difference it made for all women. The book also provides details of some player reunions and interviews with the un-official league historian. It is a very interesting book that provides many facts that are missed if your only source of knowledge about the AAGPBL is the movie.
other player biographies from the AAGPBL are out on the market and as we have seen on this blog before, are pretty enjoyable reading. This is one of the few books that I have found that encompasses the entire league. It is a great history lesson for fans and helps future generations remember an more innocent time and that the game should be inclusive of all people.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books