Human Rights Writing Coach and New Young Author
A BOOK by ME is proud to introduce Katie Goodson of East Moine, Illinois as our newest writing coach. After the birth of her third child last March, Katie decided to leave her job as a nurse to be a stay home mom. She has always been an avid reader and when introduced to our book series, she decided she would like to guide young authors to capture living history.
Katie is passionate about baseball so immediately she was drawn to stories of the Negro baseball league and also, stories of the All-American Women's Baseball League (made famous in the movie A League of Her Own). She is also pursuing stories of Japanese internment, the underground railroad and a real life Rosie the Riveter from Rock Island, Illinois. Her focus will be the Human Rights Series and we are happy to have her on board.
Soon she will accompany Rev. Dwight L. Ford, Director of the Martin Luther King Center in Rock Island, to Chicago to meet several players of the Negro league. They will take 40 to 50 students from the King Center to learn about this amazing part of American history and the part it played in Civil Rights.
Pictured here with two former players on the Negro league are Ray Knox (to her left) and Nathan Westin (on her right).
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - Rockford Peaches
December 21, 1925 - May 17, 2010
Born Cincinnati, Ohio, Dorothy Kamenshek was only nine years old when her father died of pneumonia. An only child, she was encouraged by her mother to stay active during the day while her mother worked. Dorothy filled her time playing baseball with the other neighborhood kids. She enjoyed the game and became very good at it.
She dreamed of becoming a nurse for the US Army, but World War II was raging, and Dorothy's mother wouldn't let her enlist while the nation was at war.
The war affected every area of people's lives, including how they spent their leisure time. By the fall of 1942, many minor league baseball teams were forced to disband because so many young men had been drafted into the armed services. There was concern that the war might continue, and Major League Baseball parks across the country would face financial collapse.
In 1943, Philip Wrigley, the owner of Wrigley's chewing gum and the Chicago Cubs, was looking for a way to keep the baseball parks in business. He founded the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The league sent out scouts and set up tryouts in dozens of major cities. Hundreds of women from all over the USA and Canada tried out to play in the new league. Of these, only 280 were invited to the final tryouts in Chicago, where sixty were chosen to become the first women ever to play professional baseball.
Dorothy's exceptional skills were noticed by a scout for the AAGPBL when she was 17 years old. She was one of 30 girls from her area who won a chance to try out at Wrigley Field in Chicago. She was chosen for the league and became a member of the Rockford Peaches team, representing Rockford, Illinois. A left-handed first-base player, Dorothy played ten seasons for the AAGPBL. She became the AAGPBL's all-time leader in hits and total bases run, played on the all-star team all seven times an all-star team was created, and was the league's top batter in 1946 and 1947.
Dorothy suffered a knee injury that required physical therapy. This experience led her to become a physical therapist after her baseball career ended. She also had suffered a back injury, which eventually led to her retirement; she played her last season of baseball wearing a back brace.
In the AAGPBL, the players were required to appear feminine at all times. Mr. Wrigley was concerned that he would have trouble promoting female baseball in conservative parts of the country if the players did not uphold this rule. The players had to abide by a code of appearance that required them to wear skirts and makeup to play baseball. No boyish haircuts were allowed whatsoever, and players were not to be seen in shorts or pants at all. All social functions had to be approved by the league's chaperones. In addition, each player had to attend charm school. The female players were expected to follow this simple rule: "Look like women. Play like men."
Women's League players earned $50-100 each week. This was not enough to pay for physical therapy school, so Dorothy also worked at a bakery to put herself through Marquette University in Milwaukee. After gaining work experience in Ohio, Dorothy moved to Los Angeles and began working at the Los Angeles County Crippled Children's Services Department. She eventually became their Director and supervised over 100 physical therapists. After her retirement in 1980, she was honored by Los Angeles County with an award for outstanding management.
Later in life, she was recognized in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Dottie Hinson, the character played by Geena Davis was loosely based on Dorothy Kamenshek. She was honored again in 1999, when Sports Illustrated named her one of the 100 greatest female athletes of all time. Dorothy died in May of 2010, having lived a very fulfilling life.
When talking about her experiences in baseball, Dorothy said, "It gave a lot of us the courage to go on to professional careers at a time when women didn't do things like that."
Batter up! Hear that call!
The time has come for one and all
To play ball.
We are the members of the All-American League
We come from cities near and far.
We've got Canadians, Irishmen and Swedes,
We're all for one, we're one for all
We're all Americans!!
Each girl stands, her head so proudly high,
Her motto "Do or Die."
She's not the one to use or need an alibi.
Our chaperones are not too soft,
They're not too tough,
Our managers are on the ball.
We've got a president who really knows his stuff,
We're all for one, we're one for all,
Official Song of the All-American Girls Baseball League
co-written by Lavonne "Pepper" Paire Davis and Nalda "Bird" Phillips
Copyright © Lavone "Pepper" Paire Davis - 1988