Cover the Bases Interview: Author Sue Macy

by on November 18, 2009

An interview with Sue Macy, author of the baseball book A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, on this episode of the Cover the Bases podcast.

Sue transformed a fortuitous discovery into a larger research project, which A Whole New Ball Game | Author Sue Macy | Podcastturned into the writing of this book, which ultimately developed into life long relationship with the League.  The discovery was made in the early 1980’s and came to fruition with the publishing of A Whole New Ballgame in 1993.  Sue’s discovery coincided with the women from the League reaching out across the country in an attempt to locate some of the 600 former players.  A common trait that Sue witnessed when she finally got to meet some of these players is a pure love of the game, most often instilled by fathers and brothers.

Women’s professional baseball was played during the 1940’s and 1950’s as part of the war effort.  Concern over the possibility that President Roosevelt might suspend play of the major leagues, inspired P.K. Wrigley and Branch Rickey in particular to initiate the formation of the League.  They were instrumental in developing the teams (including financing), recruiting players and placing teams in cities across the midwest.

The largest number of teams during one season was ten, including the Chicago Colleens, Fort Wayne Daisies, Grand Rapid Chicks, Kenosha Comets, Muskegon Lassies, Peoria Redwings, Racine Belles (below), Rockford Peaches, South Bend Blue Sox, and Springfield Sallies.

Racine Belles | Author Sue Macy | Podcast Interview | Baseballisms.com

Local support was a key element to the success of the teams in these cities and towns.  Baseball was a way for townspeople to find entertainment and to have a distraction from some of the hardships of war such as rationing, hard work and sacrifice.

As factors changed in the country after the war, the strong governing body that helped run the League dissipated, as teams were sold to local ownership. Sue is concerned that based upon these same practices, the WNBA might come to the same demise as history repeats itself.

Some famous names that Sue mentions include Annabelle (Lee) Harmon aunt of Bill Lee (a patron saint here at Baseballisms). Helen Callaghan, whose son Casey Candaele went on to play in the major leagues for ten seasons.  Sophie Kurys who once stole 201 bases in 1946, and Betty Trezza who knocked  in the winning run of the 1946 Championship Game.

Jean Faut pitched two perfect games, a feat no one accomplished in the League after overhand pitching was installed in 1948. Finally, the only player who appeared in all 12 years of the League’s existence Dottie Schroeder.

This is a book that represents how we feel about the game here at Baseballisms.  It is a story about pure love of baseball, a story about how baseball had a direct impact on the lives of players and fans alike, a story of the homefront during World War II, a story that has a long lasting impact and leaves a legacy that can be shared by generations to come.

Follow this link to get a copy of A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. At $5.99 this book makes a great gift for a budding baseball fan in the family.

We express our gratitude to Sue Macy for taking the time to appear on Cover the Bases with us, and look forward to keeping up with her other titles and publications at her web site.

Let us know in the comments what you think about the Cover the Bases podcast. We would love to hear from you. Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!

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  • carolsheldon

    Great job Sue!!!! You have done a lot of good for the association and I'm thankful for your efforts. I remember seeing the movie and walking out after the movie thinking “how do I not know about this league” after all I went to college in Kalamazoo and my coaches were even friends of former players. I went to the book store the next day and found the book,” Girl's of Summer”. That caused me to call the baseball hall of fame and they gave me Dottie Collins number. We talked and before I knew it I was on my way to Ft. Wayne for a mini reunion and the rest was history, I was hooked. You are so right that these women are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved your Jo Lenard story about charm school, priceless!

  • Sue Macy

    Hey, Carol–
    Those of us who have had the privilege of getting to know and hang out with the players are definitely lucky. Each of us has a story to tell–maybe we should put them together somehow. How about at the next reunion we interview each other?
    –Sue

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Holderness/100000252704876 Joan Holderness

    Sue, you have contributed to the AAGPBL again…THANK YOU….
    I hope you get a lot of sales, you have made us very proud.
    I know many kids have written to many of us asking questions and help to build their displays…etc. Many wish they had a League they could join.
    Good Luck to you, always Joan

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Magennis/1214614370 Joe Magennis

    Carol, Sue and Joan .. thank you for your comments on the podcast. We hope to provide an online community where we all can recollect and discuss the wonderful stories about the game of baseball. We hope that we hear from you often. Providing a place on the web where your stories can flourish would be our dream come true.

    Look forward to hearing from you soon!

  • Terry Donahue

    Sue,
    We finally had the chance to listen to your interview on the podcast. You did an admirable job of telling the story of our League as it unfolded. You are sure to hear from many new baseball fans who clamor to hear stories about those now famous, “Ladies of Summer”. Thanks Sue, and keep up the good work.

    Terry Donahue

  • Terry Donahue

    Sue,
    We finally had the chance to listen to your interview on the podcast. You did an admirable job of telling the story of our League as it unfolded. You are sure to hear from many new baseball fans who clamor to hear stories about those now famous, “Ladies of Summer”. Thanks Sue, and keep up the good work.

    Terry Donahue

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Lefty-Alvarez/1073484233 Isabel Lefty Alvarez

    Hi Sue, is me Well done, I am happy for you

  • http://befluid.com joemagennis

    Thank you for visiting the site Isabel. Sue is a great ambassador and we are honored that she shared the story of her book with us in a podcast.

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