Sunday, June 23, 2019

On This Day - "Autograph, Miss?"

In our last "On This Day" entry, we saw members of the 1944 Milwaukee Chicks signing the cast of their teammate Dolores Klosowski.

Today, we're looking at a different kind of autograph session, as young Milwaukee baseball fans get signatures from the eventual All-American Girls Professional Ball League champions.

AUTOGRAPH MISS? And, sure enough, Connie Wisniewski, ace pitcher of the Milwaukee Chicks, autographs a cap for one of the players in the Milwaukee Sentinel Carriers' league as, left to right, Pitchers Viola Thompson and Clara Cook look on. Carriers in the group are Leo Waskiewicz, Allan Borzynski and Edwin Stanks of the Little Kings and Bill Franzen and Leonard Czerwinski of the Tim Tylers. Around 400 Sentinel carriers were guests of the league management at the Chicks-Belles game yesterday morning.
This is fantastic. And a clever promotion from the league; it was not uncommon for the Chicks to play before 500 spectators (for comparison, the Brewers of that time often saw a few thousand in the grandstands). In this one day, the crowd would have been almost-doubled by the paperboys.

And those Sentinel carriers saw one heck of a ballgame; the Chicks blew the Racine Belles out of Borchert Field, jumping out to a 2-run lead in the bottom of the first and cruising to a 10-0 lead. Racine salvaged a few runs after the game was put away, but the Chicks dominated.

Chicks Maul Belles, 10-3

Battering the offerings of Pitcher Jane Jacobs for 12 solid base knocks, the Milwaukee Chicks defeated the Racine Belles 10 to 3 in an All-American Girls' Ball league game yesterday morning at Borchert field. It was the Chicks' fourth straight win and their third in a row over the title favorite Belles.

While her mates were piling up a 10 to 0 lead, a six run rally in the sixth being the biggest factor, Pitcher Jo Kabick, stately Chicks fastballer, was invincible, but eased up in the final frames during which the Belles counted their runs.

I wonder if the AAGPBL repeated this promotion for carriers from the city's other papers. Future baseball star Harvey Kuenn was a thirteen-year-old shortstop playing in the Milwaukee Journal's carrier league that summer, and it's wonderful to think of the future 1982 Brewers manager interacting with the All-American players at Borchert Field on a summer's day thirty-eight years earlier.

Who knows? Maybe the young Harvey even got an autograph for himself.

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