On campus today as part of the National Girls and Women in
Sports Day, two visitors graced Hope’s campus. You’re probably wondering whom
I’m talking about. Well, Doris Cook and Rosemary Stevenson visited Maas
Auditorium today at 11 AM to talk about their experience playing baseball in
the All-American Girls Baseball League in the 40s and 50s. Many of you have
seen the movie “A League of Their Own” in which women started playing baseball
when men had to leave for war. Well, did you ever think about the true-life
story behind that movie? I never did until I went to this lecture.
opened up with a clip of that movie and the introduction of Doris “Cookie” Cook
and Rosemary “Stevie” Stevenson. Both Doris and Rosemary had similar circumstances in the way
that they came to love baseball. For instance, Rosemary came from a family
where baseball was being played; specifically, her uncle introduced her to the
sport and she began playing around the age of ten and a year later joined a travel
team. Doris grew up playing with her brothers and neighbors and later followed
her sister’s footsteps and joined a team as well. Both of these young ladies
tried out for the League when they were 17 years old; however, Rosemary joined
in 1954, which happened to be the last year that the All-American Girl Baseball
League was still around.
As far as the tryouts went, Rosemary traveled down to
Indiana and was one of 106 girls trying out. Luckily, she was one of the six
that made the team. Doris’s experience included her going down to Chicago to
try out and made the team and eventually went on to make about $75 per week,
which was more than some men made at the time.
The lecture continued with a short segment from Movietone
News in which Doris was shown as well as the other players on the team. The
purpose of the video was to show that each of these women are baseball players
but keep up their femininity as well as having a life outside of baseball by
having jobs as bankers, printers and mothers. After the clip was shown, the
lecture started wrapping up and the two women gave some advice: if there’s
something you are really passionate about, do it regardless of what others may
think or how difficult it is.
I thought this lecture was really nice and it was so
interesting to see these pioneers of women’s sports at Hope. It really put
things into perspective and made me grateful for what they had done in the 50s
that allows people now to play sports regardless of gender.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.