Tuesday, July 23, 2019

On This Day - "Girls Give Up at Minneapolis"

Today, we continue our "On This Day" series in 1944, following the Milwaukee Chicks and their 1944 All-American Girls Professional Ball League championship season as it happened.

We've tracked some wonderful and compelling moments so far, from Spring Training to Opening Day to behind-the-scenes pics at Borchert Field to "double-header" concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. From triumphs to personal tragedies. But on this day seventy-five years ago, on Sunday, July 23, 1944, the Milwaukee Journal brought its readers the worst news of the season so far:

Girls Give Up at Minneapolis

Drop Home Schedule

The All-American Girls' Professional Ball league has given up in Minneapolis. The Lakers, representing that city, will continue to play but only as a road team, which will add six games to the schedules at Kenosha and South Bend and four games to the schedules at Milwaukee and Rockford.

Minneapolis and Milwaukee were added to the league this season. President Ken Sells explained Saturday that Minneapolis "apparently is not yet ready for for this new sport. Attendance has not been large enough to warrant continuing there this summer."

The Milwaukee Schnitts swapped Marie Kaczmierczak for Josephine Figlio of Racine Saturday. Both are infielders. The Lakers signed Margaret Callaghan, a third baseman from the Pacific coast.

Milwaukee and Racine, after their league game Thursday afternoon, will go to soldiers' home to play an exhibition game at 6:30 p. m.

The Lakers defeated the Schnitts Saturday night, 5-4, at Borchert field. The Schnitts stole 14 bases.
The Journal fails to even acknowledge the follow-up question: What about Milwaukee? They were also struggling at the box office, possibly because the league insisted on pricing their tickets at the same level as the popular and established Brewers. But were they struggling enough to put a second season at risk? The paper is silent.

So Minneapolis was out of the league. The Millerettes/Lakers had earned a new nickname, one that would follow them through the remainder of the 1944 season: the "Minneapolis Orphans". The AAGPBL's grand experiment with major cities was on the ropes.

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