Sunday, May 26, 2019

Today in 1944 - "Enjoy a Real Sports Thrill!"

On this day seventy-five years ago, Opening Day of the All-American Girls Professional Ball League's 1944 season was about to begin.

Spring Training was over, the rosters assigned and the players moved into their private homes in Milwaukee. Borchert Field was ready to host. And now all they needed was an audience.

To that end, the league placed two ads in the Milwaukee Journal. The first was in what they would have called the "Women's Section", sandwiched between an ad for Lux soap and an ad for a romance magazine.

Gorgeous. That's the unmistakable airbrush art of Otis Shepard, official design guru of the AAGPBL and the outright master of mid-century design.

Note the lack of team nicknames - no "Chicks" or "Schnits" or "Brewerettes" here, only "Milwaukee" and "South Bend". The team hadn't yet settled on a nickname they could use.

I also love the full schedule there.

A smaller version of the ad also appeared in the sports section.

We see more of Shepard's figure, at the expense of the season schedule. And here the women are referred to as "Our Milwaukee Team".

It's obvious that the league was trying to cast a wide net, appealing to sports fans and the women who may never turn to that section of the paper.

One day to go, and the All-American League was ready to "Play Ball!" in Milwaukee.

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