Tuesday, June 18, 2019

On This Day - "The Camera Beat the Play"

On this day in 1944, the Milwaukee Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Ball League were playing a double=header at Borchert Field.

They had originally been scheduled to play a four-game series against the Rockford Peaches, but bad weather had forced the cancellation of the first two games (including the initial tilt, when a storm had torn off part of Borchert Field's roof during the seventh inning of a Brewer game). Readers of the Milwaukee Sentinel were treated to this quarter-page ad promoting the games:

The AAGPBL certainly went all-out promoting the Chicks. The Brewers never had this kind of treatment. Of course, with four decades of history behind them, the Brewers didn't exactly need it.

So with the skies cleared and the storm damage cleared away, the games could resume. Although the Chicks might have wanted just one more rain check.

Is there anything more exciting than a play at the plate? The Journal's camera caught this one as it happened, with Chicks backstop Dorothy Maguire guarding the plate.

The camera beat the play Sunday as Jo Leonard of Rockford slid into home plate at Borchert field in the second inning of the first game of a double header with the Milwaukee Schnits of the All-American Girls' Professional Ball League. A second later, Catcher Dorothy Maguire of Milwaukee put the bal on her and Umpire Al Gembler called her out. Milwaukee lost, 6-5.
—Journal Staff
And talk about "dirt in the skirt". This is how the players got their famous "strawberries", sliding into home plate with only satin tap pants for protection. The sweet-sounding name belied the gruesomeness of the injury, nasty scrapes with dirt ground in.

The Chicks lost the first game 6-5, but managed a split by taking the second and final game of the series, 3-0, on RBI singles from third baseman Doris Tetzlaff and first baseman Betty Whiting.

This brought Milwaukee's record to 10-13, or .435, good for fifth place in the six-team league. The Chicks would have to step up if they wanted a shot at the AAGPBL post-season.

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