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All American Girls Professional Baseball League - Luncheon with the Legends

Milwaukee, WI  -  The All American Girls Professional Baseball League, "Power of the Human Spirit Luncheon" honored local and national women.  The 1992 film A League of Their Own, although fictionalized, covered the founding and play of this league. 

What a great luncheon and HERSTORICAL event!   I was in a room filled with women who are history makers and role models. By the fall of 1942, many minor league teams had disbanded due to the war.  Young men, 18 years of age and over, were being drafted into the Armed Service.  The fear that this pattern would continue and the major League Baseball Parks across the country were in danger of collaspe is what prompted Philip K. Wrigley, the chewing gum mogul who had inherited the Chicago Cubs major league baseball franchise from his father, to search for a possible solution for this dilemma.  With the dedication of a group of mid-western business men and  the financial support of Mr. Wrigley, the All American Girls Softball League emerged in the Spring of 1943. 

Full of spirit , 86 year old, Louise "Lou" Arnold gave me some insight of playing in the league and she stated,' Being 13th of 13 kids wasn't unlucky for me. The AAGPBL was a wonderful time in my life. I played for the South Bend Blue Sox as a Pitcher and I was good at it.  I'm thankful and proud that I played in this league."

Honored at the luncheon was the legendary
Billie Jean King, tennis champion and founder of the Women's Sports Foundation; Ria Cortesia, was one of a few female umpires in professional baseball; Wally Funk, professional aviator; Elaine Gonya, played in the first professional football league in Wisconsin; Dawn Riley, best known sailer in the world and Julienne Simpson, named AAU All-American four times. 

As I mentioned, it was a great luncheon, but an HERSTORICAL event...  Thanks to the AAGPBL Reunion Committee for bringing this event to Milwaukee.  If you would like to meet the Women of the AAGPBL, their next stop will be Detroit, MI in 2010.  To learn more about the AAGPBL go to

Bernell Hooker

Bernell Hooker is the Founder and CEO of Images of Us (IOU) Sports; a non-profit organization that empowers girls and women through education and sports. "Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success." - Mariah Burton Nelson