Tag Archives: baseball

A Woman of the Game

They named the movie, A League of Their Own. After listening to Mary Pratt speak at the library last Tuesday night, most of the people in the audience agree that Pratt is certainly in a league all her own. The 89 year old former pitcher in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League spoke for over an hour about her experiences playing professional baseball and her life long commitment to women in sports.

Pratt has lived in Quincy her whole life and has played just about every sport open to female athletes (she claims basketball was her best sport). She attended Sargent College and was a physical education major. During her first years as a teacher, she got the opportunity to play softball at Boston Garden. It was there that the scouts from the All American Girls Softball League (the name later changed) saw the pitcher play in 1943. Pratt played four seasons for the the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles. When she was pitching, the league required that pitchers toss the underhand throw that is used in softball. Before the league folded in 1954, overhand pitching became standard.

The women who played for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League were expected to be superior ball players and ladies. As the 1992 movie portrayed, early players had to attend charm school. Throughout the league’s duration, players’ uniforms consisted of short dresses. Mary Pratt had to pin her dress to keep it from flying up when she pitched. After Pratt’s playing days were over, she was asked to coach girls softball at North Quincy High. Determined that her players wouldn’t be mistaken for men, Pratt and her mother made all the Rangerettes uniforms that mirrored those worn by the AAGPBL players. [Pratt is posing with one of those uniforms in the photo above.]

After her years in the All Americans, Mary Pratt returned to Quincy and worked as a teacher for over 40 years. She remained active in sports as an official and a coach. In the 1970’s, she made news around the country by applying to be a football coach in Quincy. When asked what made her qualified to coach a sport she didn’t play, Pratt responded, “I’m just as qualified to coach football as men are to coach field hockey.”

It wasn’t until Penny Marshall made A League of Their Own that the All American Girls Professional Baseball League became well known to many Americans. The new interest in the league led to speaking engagements and reunions for former players. In 1988, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, honored Mary Pratt and her former league mates in an exhibit called “The Women of Baseball.” More recently, a $30,000 bronze statue was also erected in Cooperstown of an An All American girl swinging her bat.

Mary Pratt remains active in both in promoting women’s sports and being a women in sports. She currently teaches a weight lifting class. She also manages the AAGPBL “Out and About” program that keeps track of all former players public appearances.

Pratt and the 600 other women who played in the AAGPBL represent a unique part of women’s, U.S. and sports history. To learn more about the league, check out the All American Girls Professional Baseball League Player’s Association.

The Peabody Library has two great books dedicated to the history of the league:

Children can read:

The years of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League weren’t the only time women played baseball. For more women in baseball history, try one of these:

For kids:

Stayed tuned to learn more about the women who have played the game!

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Chick Davies “Chemist by Profession, but a Baseball Player by Choice”

Lloyd in his Philadelphia Athletics uniform, 1914.

In the early 20th century, Baseball fever exploded in Peabody like never before.

The reason?

Lloyd Garrison “Chick” Davies.

Lloyd came by his talent naturally. His cousin, John Atkinson Leighton, also played ball and had one season with the Syracuse Stars in 1890. When Lloyd began at Peabody High in 1906, he soon showed he had plenty to give the school and the town. A southpaw pitcher and batter, Lloyd led Peabody High School on to a championship in the North Shore League in 1910.

After graduation, he went onto major in chemistry at the Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst (now UMass Amherst). While there he caught the eye of Connie Mack, the manager for the Philadelphia Athletics. And in 1912, Lloyd agreed to play for Mack when he graduated in 1914.

Lloyd’s debut in Boston as a major league Baseball player came on September 3, 1914. Hundreds of fans poured into Fenway Park for Chick Davies Day.

Mack offered Davies another contract for the next year but he didn’t offer him any more money. And so, Lloyd came back to Peabody and worked at the Danvers Bleachery. But his Baseball career didn’t end. He played several years for semi-professional teams, including the Springfield Ponies and the New Haven Profs. And in 1925, Lloyd was once again recruited by the major league, the New York Giants. He helped them win the World Series in 1926. In that year, he led the National League with 6 saves and 29 games finished.

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Mr. Red Sox Johnny Pesky to appear tonight!

Photo from The Boston Globe

The baseball great will take question and sign autographs tonight at the Wiggin Auditorium at Peabody City Hall starting at 7pm. We’ll bring you full coverage of the event tomorrow.

Pesky is a vital part of Red Sox history. He has been associated with the team for more than 57 years, as a player and a manager. To learn more about the man that has his own pole at Fenway Park, check out:

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Trophy Tour Came to Peabody

The 2004 and 2007 Red Sox World Series Trophies were at the Peabody Library on Sunday. 820 people viewed and posed for photographs with the trophies. Check out more pictures of the event.

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“In Good Style”

Peabody Baseball Team of 1899

Peabody Baseball Team of 1899

The rules for baseball have changed a lot over the years. But the excitement over the game is as high as ever.

In the 1850s, players used baseballs that were the size of golf balls and were filled with shot. Their bats looked more like broomsticks than what we know today. And the games. . .well, they weren’t exactly played like they are today.
In 1860, a game played between the South Danvers Bencia Club and the Lynn Outalanchets had 45 innings and a final score of 76 to 31. South Danvers (now Peabody) won that match. Unfortunately, the Civil War began soon after and 8 of the 12 men on the team joined the Army. Five were so severely wounded during battle that they were discharged due to their disabilities. And one, Charles Warner, was killed at the Battle of Fair Oakes in Virginia.

After the war, baseball fever heated up again. There were lots of great players during the 1870s and 1880s. One of the best was Sam King. He was so good, in fact, that in 1871 Harry Wright, who had just formed the Boston Red Stockings (later the Red Sox), asked Sam if he wanted to play for him. He did, but his parents’ didn’t agree. And Sam stayed in Peabody. That didn’t stop his playing, though.

He played for the Lynn Live Oaks, a semi-professional team. And in 1884, he was asked to play for another major league team, the Washington Nationals. He stayed in Peabody for the rest of his life, operating his real estate business from his home on Lowell Street. He died in 1922.

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