In 1943 the United States was standing on the brink of World War II, in response major league baseball players were joining the military and going overseas.
Seeing a possible revenue issue Phillip K. Wrigley of Major League baseball attempted to remedy the temporary halt by establishing a women’s baseball league, and with that the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was born.
This was dramatized by the film A League of Our Own, that film followed the exploits of one of the most famous teams in that league the Rockford Peaches however, teams were housed all over the country. Fifteen total teams shuffled in and out of the league during its’ eleven-year run.
Along with teams coming from all over the country, so too did female athletes and among these were Louisville’s own Gertrude Ganote. An infielder and pitcher Ganote made a name for herself first in 1944 season with the Kenosha Comets, then the following season with the South Bend Blue Sox.
She was so dominate on defense in fact that the athlete known as “Lefty” had the best season fielding average for first base during her rookie year in the league.
With the conclusion of the war came the conclusion of the league in 1954, at which point the MLB went back to its pre-war status.
Following her standout professional athletic career Ganote actually worked at Walgreens and raised a family, sadly she passed only a few years ago on February 17th of 2006, her 86th birthday. Her abilities and dedication to her hometown make her a sports legend of the ‘Ville.
Ganote once said that she thought modern major league baseball was great, further she said, “I would like to see women have their own league,” a wish that she got to see if only for a decade.
Image courtesy of Sportsartifcats.com