Women Baseball Stars Remember Their Playing Days
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You can get autographs from all kinds of baseball super stars at Fan Fest at Bartle Hall this weekend. Some earlier pioneers of the game are in Kansas City including women made famous by the 1992 movie League of Their Own.
Maybelle Blair pitched for the Peoria Red Wings. She remembers the day the professional scout came calling.
“They came and said, ‘oh my God you’ve got to come play for us,’” Blair said. “I said, ‘well I don’t know.’ I want to in the worst way but I don’t know if I can sell my mother.’”
The scout drove her home and after an adamant ‘no way’, Mrs. Blair changed her mind after talking to the scout.
“He says, ‘Mrs. Blair, don’t you realize we’re going to pay her $65 a week and she’ll play professional ball?’ She says, ‘George go start the car and I’ll get the suitcase.’”
Blair made more money than her dad George at the time. Her fondest memory was putting on her uniform for the first time. Even though the dresses were shot, that didn’t always make sliding easy.
“We didn’t have sliding pads,” she said. “These people today are spoiled.”
The All American Girls Professional Baseball League was founded in 1943 as an effort to keep baseball alive during WWII. For the next decade, the league evolved from underhand fast pitch softball to overhand hardball. Like the movie conveyed, there were strict rules and fines if players disobeyed.
Katie Horstman played for the Ft. Wayne Daisies.
“I was just thankful it happened to me,” Horstman said. “It was like a miracle. It was something I always dreamed about.”
That dream came true. As she recalls that time, she offers some advice.
“Follow your dreams and don’t work at any thing,” she said. “Even if it pays a lot more money, just do what you like to do because you will be successful.”
Success is what you make it.