Was it softball or baseball?

When Philip Wrigley proposed creating a league of women’s teams to play professional softball, the first games a year later were played as softball under the name of the All-American Girls Softball League.  1943 program cover for All-American Girls Softball LeagueThat didn’t last more than one season, however.

By the time the second season began in 1944, the name of the league had been officially renamed the All-American Girls Professional Ball League.

It wasn’t all that easy to get others to go along with this change.  Many in the media still referred to it as softball.

Another year and another name — this time the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which it retained until the league ended in 1954.

The new league management was trying to create a faster, more dynamic game that would draw increasingly larger crowds. The size of the diamond grew, the size of the ball shrank. Pitchers adopted first a sidearm throw and eventually the overhand pitch, just like in men’s baseball.

If management had a hard time persuading the media to get the league name right, official league documents weren’t much more consistent.

Accountant John H. Black, who worked for Arthur Meyerhoff in October 1944, wrote a memo to him about plans for “the Softball League”.

This poster introducing the start of the 1945 season calls the game baseball, but still hasn’t adopted the league’s new name, although the official schedule has.

1945 Pro Ball League poster 1945 official league schedule with new name

By 1946, the league seems to have been established in everyone’s mind as a professional baseball league. The exception was some Canadian newspapers which, on reporting on Canadian players home for the off-season, referred to their experiences in the All-American Glamour League.


About Lois Browne

I'm a mystery writer, blogger and traveller.
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