To write Girls of Summer: In Their Own League, I visited a lot of former players in western Canada and in the mid-west, south and west of the U.S. They shared their stories and their scrapbooks with me, but I don’t remember anyone mentioning the National Girls Baseball League (NGBL), although its creation was apparently motivated by the All-American League.
The NGBL was centred entirely in Chicago and despite its name, the teams played fastpitch softball, not baseball. The League is being restored to public memory by Adam Chu who is trying to raise money for a documentary film via the NGBL web site that highlights the players and teams that played from 1944-54.
It features great photos of the young women who played in the NGBL, which started in 1944 and lasted until 1954, the same year the All-American League teams played their last games.
Although one online source says that the National League welcomed players the All-American wouldn’t take, in fact, there were a number of players that spent time in both Leagues.
Edythe Perlick of Chicago was among the first players signed by the All-American Girls Softball League in 1943 and she, along with Ann Harnett, was featured in League publicity stills that were obviously posed.
A photo of Perlick has just been posted to the National League’s Facebook page as a “star left fielder” of the National Girls Baseball League, which she played in after she left the All-American in 1950. It’s a real player’s photo; she looks like she means business at bat.
Vickie Panos was another All-American player who later played in the NGBL. Panos was recruited from western Canada, as were many of the early players.
She spent only one year in the All-American League. She started out with the South Bend Blue Sox, but was one of the players shifted to the Milwaukee Chicks later in the season.
The photo to the left is from 1946 by which time Panos had moved to Chicago to play with the Chicago Bluebirds, one of the NGBL teams.
The AAGPBL web site provides a lot of information and photos about their young players and it’s good to know that there is a source of information for the young women who played for the NGBL. It’s definitely a site to track.