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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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