The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), which was returned to the country’s attention in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, is a fascinating subject. With the onset of World War II, many minor league baseball franchises found themselves at a crossroads. Losing many of their players to military service, minor league teams began to feel the pinch and many went under. Philip K. Wrigley, the chewing gum mogul and owner of the Chicago Cubs, created the All-American Girls Softball League in 1943 to bring in the crowds and to help these franchises stay afloat. The league eventually became the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) and was the inspiration for the 1992 hit movie.
The Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University is fortunate to have a burgeoning collection of material pertaining to the AAGPBL. The collection was begun in 2005 with the gift of Elizabeth “Lib” Mahon’s papers. Through the efforts of retired Winthrop Reference Librarian and baseball historian, Bob Gorman, Mahon’s niece donated Mahon’s papers to the Archives. Mahon was a Winthrop graduate (Class of 1942) and played in the league from 1944 to 1952. Lib was a gifted outfielder who was known for her hitting prowess and her speed. In 1946 the two-time all-star stole 114 bases in 116 attempts.
Again, through Bob Gorman, the Archives acquired Jean Faut’s Papers. Faut, who now lives in Rock Hill, starred as a pitcher for the South Bend Blue Sox in the league from 1946 to 1953. She was twice the recipient of the Player of the Year award and her 1.23 ERA was the lowest in league history. She was also the only professional pitcher (male or female) to throw two perfect games during her career. The Archives has material pertaining to several other players, including Sue Kidd and Ruth Born, as well as the league as a whole.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Collection includes the following manuscript collections:
- Elizabeth B. Mahon Papers - Accession 992 - M434 (485)
- Elizabeth B. Mahon Papers - Accession 1215
- Jean Faut Papers - Accession 1369
- Sue Kidd AAGPBL Collection - Accession 1499
- Ruth Born AAGPBL Collection - Accession 1461
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Home Movies - Accession 1385 - M686 (742)
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Collection - Accession 1389
- A Team of Their Own: All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Documentary - Accession 1534 M745 (802)