Monday, July 8, 2019

On This Day - "Girls Will Play, With Music"

On this day in 1944, seventy-five years ago, Philip K. Wrigley had an announcement to make.

Wrigley was one of the founders of the All-American Girls Professional Ball League, and his announcement was specifically about our Milwaukee Chicks baseball club. If a women's baseball league was a radical idea in 1943, his idea for promoting the new 1944 expansion club was a real doozy.

Listen to Baseball Symphony; Girls Will Play, With Music

Something new in entertainment, a combination of music by a symphony orchestra and baseball games featuring professional girl ballplayers, will be offered July 19, 20, 22 and 23 at Borchert field. Announcement of the combination was made in Chicago Saturday by Philip K. Wrigley, sponsor of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball league.

The Milwaukee Symphony orchestra, directed by Dr. Julius Ehrlich, will play popular and semi-classical music for one hour each evening before the ball game begins. The Milwaukee girls' baseball team, playing their first season, will play the Minneapolis girls' club on the first three evenings and a double header with Rockford on July 23.

Wrigley said that because girls baseball is new in Milwaukee, the symphony concert is being offered as an additional attraction. The Milwaukee symphony was selected, he said, because of its outstanding reputation with Milwaukee music lovers.

In contrast to this, according to the league's press representative, the girl baseball teams "bawl out the umpires, slide for bases, hit right or left handed and do all the other things that the best professional men's club members do, except chew tobacco."
Wrigley was at this point starting to get desperate. Attendance was below a sustainable level in both Milwaukee and Minneapolis, the two new clubs for 1944, and Wrigley's experimentation with major cities looked to be a failure.

The Milwaukee Journal in particular had repeatedly pointed at high ticket prices, exactly the same as for the established and popular Brewers. Rather than lower ticket prices, Wrigley looked to add value to the tickets themselves. Not an unreasonable notion, and you have to admire his ingenuity.

If nothing else, Wrigley's creative "double headers" would generate publicity for his baseball league. We will see if it turned out to be enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment