Sue Zipay in a league of her own

By: Scott Langdon

Canadian Baseball Network

Sue Zipay felt like crying in 1954 when the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) disbanded, but she expects to be smiling this fall when surviving players meet at a reunion in Sarasota, FL. Sixty-four Canadian women played in the league during its 11-year history.

Zipay, 82, the Reunion Site Chair, played for the Rockford Peaches during the league’s final two seasons. Eleanor “Squirt” Callow of Winnipeg was one of the league’s top power hitters and one of Zipay’s teammates.

“Squirt has passed away unfortunately, but she was a good player, an outfielder who batted leftie,” Zipay recalled.

Zipay is spreading the word about the Oct. 20-23 reunion.  She hopes to locate players or their relatives or friends across Canada who might be interested in attending in Sarasota.

“Our numbers have dwindled over the years. Our youngest player now is 82 years old and the oldest, Mary Pratt, is 98. But anyone can attend the reunion as a non-player or guest. I’m hoping there could be some relatives or friends of our Canadian players who might want to bring us their memories and stories,” she said.

Zipay adds that his is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet some of the women whose baseball exploits were immortalized in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.

The four-day reunion will feature a men against women baseball game at Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, in Sarasota. Former major league players will battle former and active members of the U.S. national women’s team. The teams will switch pitchers and catchers for the six-inning game on Oct. 22.

A gala fundraiser for the Women’s Sports Museum, believed to be the only facility of its kind in the U.S., will follow the ballgame at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Zipay is the founder and driving force behind the museum project.

“It will be more than a typical museum. We envision it as a resource center for all women athletes past and present and a learning center for future sports careers,” she said. “The history, struggles, accomplishments and details of many women athletes whose names have never been heard will be researched. Young girls will see what it was like one hundred years ago and that athletic ability is a gift to be developed.”

Zipay received architect’s drawings of the proposed facility in the last few days.               

“There is so much glass in the structure with sight lines out to Sarasota Bay. We’ll have a revolving ball on top that will transform from a football to a baseball to a soccer ball is it twirls over the building,” she said.

“There are so many female athletes, past and present, we never hear about, but whose accomplishments should be known and heralded. I would love to hear from Canadians. Tell us your story,” she added.

All of the AAGPBL players, including the 64 Canadians, will be early inductees in the Women’s Sports Museum.

Zipay gravitated to tennis when her baseball days ended. She was a tennis instructor and is now owner of the Englewood Tennis Club, Englewood, FL with her son, Bob.

“I was a two-sport athlete and so are many other women. The Museum will be interactive with lots of classroom instruction to help a sixty-year-old learn to play tennis or to introduce a youngster to the fun and benefits of sport,” she said.

 

Reaching out for Canadian AAGPBL Players
The All American Girls Professional Baseball League will hold a reunion Oct. 20-23, 2016 in Sarasota Fla. 

Sue Zipay, Reunion Site Chair, and former member of the Rockford Peaches, is reaching out to locate as many players, family or friends to attend the reunion. 

Zipay is also the founder and driving force behind the Women’s Sports Museum in Sarasota. She would like to hear about Canadian women athletes who could be considered for inclusion in the museum. 

Contact Zipay at suezip2@verizon.net for information about the reunion or visit womenssportsmuseum.org.

A list of the 64 Canadians who played in the league during its existence from 1943-1954. 

(Non supporting means haven’t paid association membership dues.)

       
Velma Abbott            Not located
Betty (Petryna) Allen        Non-supporting
Mary (George) Baker        Deceased
Barbara Barbaze        Not located
Doris Barr            Deceased

Christine (Jewitt) Beckett    Non supporting
Catherine Bennett        Not located
Ethel Boyce            Deceased
Eleanor Callow            Deceased
Muriel Coben            Deceased

Dorothy Cook            Not located
Mary Penny (O’Brian) Cooke    Deceased
Audrey (Haine) Daniels        Active
Gladys Davis            Not located
Marguerite (Jones) Davis    Deceased

Lee (Surkowski) Delmonico    Deceased
Anne (Surkowski) Deyotte    Non supporting
Terry Donahue            Active
Betty (Carveth) Dunn        Active
Julie (Sabo) Dusanko        Deceased

Elsie (Wingrove) Earl        Active
June Emerson            Deceased
Helen (Nicol) Fox        Active
Ruth (Middleton) Gentry    Deceased
Jeanne Gilchrist            Deceased

Thelma Golden            Not located
Olga Grant            Not located
Marjorie Hanna            Not located
Lillian Hickey            Deceased
Agnes (Zurowski) Holmes    Deceased

Thelma (Grambo) Hundeby    Deceased
Dorothy Hunter            Deceased
Alice Janowski            Not located
Daisy Junor            Deceased
Dorothy (Ferguson) Key        Deceased

Olive (Bend) Little        Deceased
Martha (Rommelaere) Manning     Deceased
Ruby (Knezovich) Martz        Deceased
Ruth Mason            Not located
Marge (Callaghan) Maxwell    Active

Mildred (Warwick) McAuley    Deceased
Ethel McCreary            Deceased
Colleen (Smith) McCulloch    Active
Kay (Heim) McDaniel        Deceased
Gene (George) McFaul        Not located

Evelyn (Wawryshyn) Moroz    Active
Arleene (Johnson) Noga        Non supporting
Vicki Panos            Deceased
Janet (Anderson) Perkin        Deceased
Lucille (MacLean) Ross        Deceased

Helen (Nelson) Sandiford    Deceased
Joan Schatz            Not located
Yolanda (Teillet) Schick        Deceased
June Schofield            Not located
Mary (Justra) Shastal        Not located

Shirley Smith            Not located
Helen (Callaghan) St. Aubin    Deceased
Marion (Watson) Stanton    Deceased
Mae Stark            Not located
Anne J. Thompson        Not located

Thelma Walmsley        Not located
Betty (Berthaiume) Wicken    Deceased
Hazel (Measner) Wildfong    Deceased
Doris (Shero) Witiuk        Deceased