Guest Post: Celebrating Women in Baseball

I’m sorry I’ve been away for a while (I’ll explain later maybe). But enough about me – today I’d like to introduce Britt Skrabanek, a great friend who writes great novels about bold, sassy female characters through history. Please welcome her here for this guest post celebrating women in baseball in time for National Women in Baseball Day. If you have spring or baseball fever after reading this, remember to check out her novels, including Nola Fran Evie. Take it away Britt…

There’s something so classically American about baseball, isn’t there? This is the time of the year when we all get that urge to attend a game, smell the fresh grass, eat gooey popcorn, and cheer on our team with a bunch of sweaty strangers in the hot baseball stands.

With all of the technology distractions at our fingertips, perhaps more than ever we feel this urge for simplicity. We want to remember slower times, remember what it felt like to experience real life in front of us – rather than living life through a smartphone screen.

I still remember going to baseball games with my dad like they happened yesterday. Somehow those memories are more vivid than things that happened to me a week ago.

On May 30, 1943 the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) made history. For the first time, women played professional baseball together. Today, 76 years later, the AAGPBL celebrates these women with National Women in Baseball Day on May 30.

When the league began, it was considered a girly spectacle. Women playing sports was practically taboo. Many of the seats were empty and some people who attended laughed at the female ball players. The women played on and proved them all wrong. Women were, in fact, cut out for this. They could be sporty and strong, they could leave the kitchen and take on the roles of men.

Five years later by the league’s peak year of 1948, they had 910,000 paying fans. And though the AAGPBL disbanded in 1954, these women changed history, opening the door to strides in feminism that still hold today.

Like many people, both old and young, I became fascinated by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League after seeing A League of Their Own. I had a fortunate upbringing as my dad encouraged me to be active. He used to race me to the car in the garage from our apartment or we would play catch in the doctor’s office with his keys.

Dad always told me I was just as good as the boys and he kept me enrolled in various sports and dance programs. When he took me to see A League of Their Own in the theater in 1992, I was enthralled. These women made such an impact on me, but I never knew they would continue to be influential as our lives became intertwined 20 years later.

Quite randomly, a vintage handbag I purchased in 2012 turned into a treasure trove of historical fiction inspiration. I discovered a pair of baseball tickets from 1954, along with a voting receipt that had a shopping list written in a woman’s handwriting on the back. The women’s league folded that same year, so it was a serendipitous discovery that led me to write my third novel, Nola Fran Evie.

In this novel, I share the stories of three women who played in the league together and what happened to their lives afterward during the 1950s. Because of their role during WWII, their life paths were permanently altered. These women didn’t all want to go quietly…they wanted more out of life.

There is still something to be in awe about 76 years later. And, it’s important for us to remember these women and celebrate their strength alongside the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, an organization which is still alive and well.

#WomeninBaseballDay is the perfect chance to show your support and it happens on May 30.

According to the AAGPBL’s Facebook page event:

“National Women in Baseball Day is a social media driven event that encourages MLB, MiLB, Women’s baseball organizations, softball teams, and anyone who supports women in baseball to get a group photo together forming a “V”. The “V” formation pays homage to the shape the AAGPBL teams would take during the pre-game National Anthem to stand together for “victory”.

If unable to form a group photo, participants are encouraged to share photos of themselves or female family members playing baseball, as well as sporting their favorite women’s baseball organization/team apparel. Women that have a role in a professional baseball organization are also encouraged to share their stories/photos.”

…if you want to show your support for women in baseball, I recommend joining in the social media festivities on May 30 by using or following #WomenInBaseballDay. These women did a lot for us and they should be celebrated.

Thank you Britt! Remember to check out her books and follow her through these links:

Amazon Nola Fran Evie:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794684077/

Website / Social:

https://brittskrabanek.com/

https://brittskrabanek.com/blog/

https://twitter.com/BrittSkrabanek

https://www.instagram.com/bskrabanek/

https://www.facebook.com/BrittSkrabanek/

https://www.goodreads.com/brittskrabanek

22 thoughts on “Guest Post: Celebrating Women in Baseball

  1. Congrats on the publication of Nola Fran Evie, Britt! For me, baseball is a reminder of a pre–Digital Age mindset — one in which patience and concentration were valued and rewarded (even if your team doesn’t win!).

    • Hi Sean! That’s very true – I grew up loving the Tigers so I’m used to getting my hopes up before they’d all come crashing down. It was fun cheering on the underdogs though and it’s always so much more exciting whenever those underdogs manage to win a few games.

      • My team, the Dodgers, manages to lose the World Series every year! Haha! So I’m not really sure what that makes us: frontrunners or underdogs! All I do know is that if you make the experience all about being crowned “Ultimate Champion,” you both miss the point of the sport and deprive yourself of what’s most fun about it.

      • Well said, Britt. Reading — certainly long-form fiction — is also a welcome old-fashioned pleasure in our clickbait culture, so congrats on the book; I wish you only the biggest and brightest success with it!

  2. Sheila, lovely to see you back! A terrific post on your return and Brit’s book is on my list of books to read! I loved learning how the discovery of the old handbag and its contents inspired the story. I’ve only been to one baseball game on a trip to America … it was in Boston and the atmosphere was electric!

    • Fenway is the oldest park in the United States, Annika, and has a lot of history and character! I’m out here in Los Angeles; Dodger Stadium is, to my knowledge, the only remaining midcentury park now. Nothing says springtime like a trip to the ballpark!

      • Sean, thank for reminding me of the name of Fenway! I had a brilliant time there … alas nothing quite like that in the U.K. (I’m not into football!) Enjoy your ballpark trips! 😀

      • Thanks Annika! It’s good to be back. Fenway is a lot of fun – it’s great for that historical feel and it really makes you feel like you’re part of the game because the players are so close. I love watching the UK football games too – whenever the crowd starts singing it’s amazing!

  3. How nice to see a post from you, Sheila! I have never seen a baseball match and know nothing about the game but the fight for women’s rights in sport as well as in all walks of life is so important. Congratulations to Britt on the publication of her book!

    • Thanks Clare! That’s true about the fight for women’s rights through history. If you’re looking for a movie about that kind of thing, you might like A League of Their Own. Nola Fran Evie is also about women trying to find their way in the 1940s and 50s, at a time when it was difficult to break through those stereotypes. I hope everything’s been going well with you and that you’ve been enjoying some wonderful spring/summer walks!

    • Thank you for the congrats, Clare! I recommend the film, A League of Their Own, as well. Fun and heart-warming movie to watch, but it is also quite historically accurate for a Hollywood film.

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