Mar 2, 2020
Award-winning illustrator, cartoonist and unwitting baseball historian Anika Orrock (The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) joins to discuss her delightfully visual take on the pioneering circuit that not only helped save America’s pastime – but also became the forerunner of women's professional league sports in the United States.
With the US deep into WWII, attendance at Major League Baseball games by 1943 was dwindling and minor leagues were suspending operations as the nation’s war effort siphoned able-bodied men from pro baseball diamonds across the country. To keep interest in the sport alive, Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley spearheaded the formation of an all-female league that featured a spirited blend of competitive moxie and girl-next-door femininity that delighted hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the Midwest and garnered significant national publicity.
The quality of play was surprisingly competitive, aided by ex-big league managers like Jimmy Foxx and Max Carey. The AAGPBL also doubled as a kind of finishing school for its players – all of whom were expected to maintain high moral standards, rules of conduct and even a Helena Rubinstein-contracted beauty regimen – in an effort to project positive and patriotic female images both on and off the field.
Orrock’s Incredible Women blends funny, charming, yet powerful vignettes told by the players themselves, with a whimsically stylized graphic design that delivers a remarkably detailed (and all-ages-accessible) oral history of the pioneering league’s 12-year run – and unique place in baseball history.
PLUS: The grocery-list stylings of San Francisco Giants’ radio voice Jon Miller!
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