Wednesday, July 25, 2018

1944 AAGPBL Schedule

This tweet recently caught my eye:

"DiamondGirls" is the official account of a "one-act, one-woman show about three Saskatchewan gals in the AAGPBL." And they post amazing AAGPBL-related content. Including this 1944 league schedule. Let's take a closer look at it:

The Milwaukee Schnitts are the second column from the left, just after their expansion sisters, the Minneapolis Orphans.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the large holes in that schedule. The Schnitts had their first series at the end of May, opening their season with three games at Borchert Field against the South Bend Blue Sox. And then they went on the road and didn't return until June 16th. Hard to create local momentum when the Milwaukee fans can't see you. And then again in July, when they went over a month&mdashJuly 5th through August 10th—without a home game. Minneapolis also had large holes in their schedule, leading me to believe that it might have involved sharing their ballparks with American Association club that had preference in booking dates. Perhaps it is not a surprise that the AAGPBL struggled to take off in the larger cities.

Worth also noting that the Minneapolis club lost their home partway through their season, leading that second-half schedule to be played on the road. Which is why the franchise originally called the "Millerettes" is today commonly known as the "Orphans".

The second thing I want to point out is the notation along the bottom: "Week Day Game in all cities are played at night except those marked (D) in Milwaukee, which are played during the day." We know that was due to scheduling conflicts with the Brewers. Of the 48 home dates on this schedule, twelve are listed as double-headers. That leaves 36 single home games, of which fourteen were played during the day (eight of those on weekdays). Permanent lights had been installed at Borchert Field in 1935, so the Brewers were well-equipped for night games.

The Schnitts were forced to play more than half their games in the afternoon. That, coupled with the long stretches without games, show what an uphill battle for fans they were fighting before the season even started.

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