The Real Women of Baseball to Visit Syracuse

(Syracuse, NY – Sept. 2012) The All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) will be coming to Syracuse in September for their annual reunion.  The AAGPBL is the League from 1943-1954 that the 1992 movie, “A League of Their Own,” was based on.
This marks an important year for the league.  It’s been 70 years since Philip Wrigley first came up with the idea; 30 years since the Players’ Association (their non-profit organization) was established; 40 years since Title IX became a reality; and 20 years since “A League of Their Own” premiered.

The AAGPBL was recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY for their importance in baseball history.  They have a bronze statue of an AAGPBL batter outside of the library wing along with their own exhibit on the second floor called Diamond Dreams.  The league was brought to life in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna.  Now, twenty years later, a new DVD release of the movie is scheduled for October.  There is also a musical written about the league hoping to open on Broadway called “Peaches, The Musical.”  It’s a story different than the movie, but also centers around the Rockford Peaches and its relationship with the town folks.  There have also been countless books written about this league over the years.

On Saturday, September 22, we are holding a very unique event at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse that will be open to the public.  More than 50 of these former players will be available to sign autographs from 10:00-11:30am.  Two cast members from the movie, Patti Pelton (Marbleann Wilkenson) and Megan Cavanagh (Marla Hooch) have also confirmed that they will also be at the stadium.  Following the autographs, we will introduce everyone on the field prior to the softball game.  Just as the players lined up in a V-formation (V for Victory) during their playing days, they will be lined up like that in Syracuse.  They will also sing their league song while out on the field.

Members of the AAGPBL Players’ Association will be playing against a local women’s softball team, Wings Over Syracuse, coached by Tony Wade.  Many of the former AAGPBL players (now ages 75+) will have a part in the game.  At least two (Katie Horstman and Jeneane Lesko) will play for at least a couple of innings.  The coaches will be Maybelle Blair and Shirley Burkovich.  Dolly Konwinski will be home plate umpire.  Corky Carl, South Bend Blue Sox bat girl from 1945-50, will be one of the bat girls.  Others will be base coaches, bat girls and hecklers.  We will be staging some fun plays reminiscent of the movie during the game as well.

Tim Wiles, Director of the Research Library at the Baseball Hall of Fame, will be our announcer for the day.  He is an expert on the AAGPBL and will be teaching the crowd about the league while calling all the plays and having fun.

Nadia Diaz, age 11, will be throwing out the first pitch.  She is the young lady who struck out 19 batters during a game in her Syracuse Southside American Little League this past June.

This will be a very family friendly way to spend the day at the Stadium.  Concession stands will be open, league merchandise will be available to buy, Scooch will be roaming through the crowd, and the inflatables will be blown up for the really little kids.  We’re also holding a silent auction which will feature unique AAGPBL and “A League of Their Own” memorabilia.

This is a truly historic event that will not happen in Syracuse again.  It’s most likely that this is also the last time that these ladies will all be together on a baseball diamond again.  We want everyone to come and enjoy the day with us.  Tickets are only $5 at the gate.  Kids ten and under will be let in free.  There will be no charge for parking.  All the money received will go towards all the reunion expenses.

We will need to move the players out of the stadium by 3 p.m. due to another event that evening.  In case of rain, we will plan to continue with the autographs and just extend the time the players will be available.  The silent auction will also be held.

All the latest about the game and the auction will be posted on http://www.facebook.com/aagpbl.   

For more information, visit http://www.aagpbl.org.  Please direct any questions to Shelley McCann, 2012 AAGPBL Reunion Chairperson at (315) 256-4262 or syracusereunion2012@gmail.com.

 

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