BROADCAST DATE: TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2003
Many Americans are surprised to learn that women once played professional baseball in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943-1954. Founded by Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley in order to entertain Americans - and keep ballparks full - during World War II, the league provided unprecedented opportunity for young women to play professional baseball, see the country, and aspire to careers beyond the traditional roles of teacher, secretary, nurse, librarian, or housewife.
Though these women flourished as professional athletes, the league's demise in the suburban, tranditional 1950s led our culture to utterly forget the colorful lives of these pioneering female athletes. It wasn't until Title IX revolutionized American sports in the early 1970s that a culture of women's sports was truly born. The 1992 movie "A League of Their Own," accurately dramatizes the lives of the women of the AAGPBL.
The electronic field trip will also look at pioneering women baseball players, owners, umpires, and teams from as early as 1866 right on through to present day women playing and working in baseball. The common thread running through the stories we examine will be womens' - and girls' - efforts to be a part of America's "National Pastime," baseball.
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