Monday, June 17, 2019

1943 AAGPBL Scorecard on eBay

This 1943 AAGPBL scorecard is currently up on eBay, and although it's from the year before the Milwaukee Chicks entered the league, it's essentially the same as was used in 1944, which certainly makes it worth a look.

I've only ever seen one 1944 scorecard, just enough to know how similar it is to this example.

The cover art by Otis Shepard is gorgeous. A master of mid-century design. This cover was kept virtually the same for 1944, with a slight change to the league's name.

1944 scorecard cover
Founded as the All-American Girls Softball League, as seen here, they changed the name midway through the 1944 season to the All-American Girls Baseball League, or AAGBBL. That was better, and illustrated the desire of Wrigley and Company to move away from softball into baseball rules, but it still wasn't perfect.

When the 1944 season opened, the name had been tweaked again to the All-American Girls Professional Ball League. This initially gave us the AAGPBL shorthand, which endures today in the name All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The name was changed, and a price—one thin dime!—was added to the cover, but the stunning airbrush art was untouched. As it should be.

Inside, the four teams are listed and the spaces left blank for fans to fill in. This cost-cutting measure allowed the league to print one single score card for all league games.

Again, this is identical to the score cards used in 1944, with the addition of the two new teams in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Three players listed here would go on to be Chicks in 1944; Clara Cook from the Kenosha Comets, Gladys Davis of the Rockford Peaches, and Dorothy Maguire of the Racine Belles. In addition, Racine's Dorothy Hunter would hang up her spikes to became the Chicks' chaperone, and Rockford's manager (and Milwaukeean) Eddie Stumpf would become the club's general manager. It's likely that these are the Opening Day rosters, and don't reflect call-ups during the season, but it's surprising that so few Chicks had experience in the league. Of the twenty-four players listed in the AAGPBL's records for the 1944 Chicks, twenty-one of them were rookies that year.

On the score card's back cover, the league makes its pitch.

YOUR very presence in this park at this time makes you an active participant in a progressive movement which puts girls softball in its rightful place among the major American sports. In this park you will see fast, thrilling games played by the greatest girl softball players in America.

Now . . . with America straining physically and mentally to carry a larger burden than ever before, the All-American Girls Softball League becomes an important part of the war effort. As a sports spectacle, the games you see here cannot be surpassed. As healthful recreation, this sport carries its benefits right back to the work bench or to the desk or the production line. Patriotism and girls softball go hand in hand.

The All-American Girls Softball League, a non-profit corporation, was formed to create new, high standards for the game and to develop girls professional softball along sound lines, providing wholesome, exciting entertainment. Girls softball, as played by the teams in the All-American Girls Softball League, is the spirit of 1943 in sports. It's a great game to watch or play. So plan to spend as many of your leisure hours as you can right here in your favorite ball park.

Attending softball games as patriotic duty. I love it.

This inspiring message is closed with a look at the league's original logo. Although they may have continually changed the initials, the basic logo stayed virtually the same. The AAGPBL Players Association even uses it today, with slight modifications.

This score card is an amazing artifact of the league's first year. It will become an important part of somebody's collection, although I'd love to see it in a museum.

$399.99 is a bit steep for me, at least for a 1943, but if anyone knows of a 1944 score card becoming available, let me know.

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