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Jun 21, 2021

Most baseball fans are familiar with the World War II-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from the hit 1992 movie "A League of Their Own" - but most do not know that there was another pro women's circuit that played only in the greater Chicago area at around the same time. 
Documentary filmmaker Adam Chu ("Their Turn At Bat") joins the pod to discuss the fascinating story of the National Girls Baseball League (1944-54) - formed out of the city's amateur softball talent-loaded Metropolitan League in 1944 - from which the AAGPBL had recruited many of its initial players a year earlier.
Co-founded by area roofing company owner Emery Parichy, Chicago Cardinals NFL football team owner Charles Bidwell and city politician/softball enthusiast Ed Kolski, the NGBL consisted of six heavily sponsored teams (originally the Bloomer Girls, Bluebirds, Chicks, Queens, Cardinals, and Music Maids) - playing in neighborhood baseball parks across Chicago and its nearby suburbs, including Parichy's purpose-built showcase Memorial Stadium in Forest Park.
The league regularly drew over half-a-million fans annually with its exclusively underhand-pitching format (the AAGBPL allowed for overhand),
and even featured football legend Red Grange as its commissioner for its first three seasons.
Although the NGBL and AAGPBL never directly competed against each other on the diamond, they did battle fiercely for players - ultimately leading to a pact between the two to not raid each other's talent - and even a truce of sorts when players from both circuits joined together in the four–team International Girls Baseball League (IGBL) in Miami during the winter of 1952–53.