Non-Fiction: Sports

A League of My Own

Written by: Patricia I. Brown

Published By: McFarland & Company, Inc

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I had never heard of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League until I saw the movie, A League of Their Own.  Once I discovered that the movie was based upon a real womenís baseball league, I simply had to know more about it.  I did research online and checked out the display at Cooperstown, New York, but I still wanted to know more.  So, imagine my delight when I found A League of My Own: Memoir of a Pitcher for the All-American Girls Professional for sale at Barnes & Noble.  I couldnít believe my luck!

            When Patricia I. Brown was young, she loved sports and enjoyed playing baseball, but the local sandlot kids werenít very accepting of her.  After all, in those days, girls werenít supposed to play baseball.  But Patís brother soon got his friends to try her out and Patís skills won her a spot playing ball with the local boys.  Unfortunately, there were no other opportunities to play baseball.  Womenís sports were very limited and Pat would discover that womenís baseball was non-existent.  Patís dreams of become a baseball player might never have been met if it werenít for a man named Wrigley.

            During World War II, Mr. Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, began to worry about the baseball season.  With all of the men signing up to fight the Nazis, who would be left behind to play baseball.  Wrigley decided to set up the All-American Girls Professional Softball League in an effort to keep baseball going somewhat.   It would be something for baseball fans who were aiding in the war effort to come home to.  An amusement to be enjoyed in place of the baseball season. 

            Well, menís baseball never actually stopped and the All-American Girls Professional Softball League became the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a league that continued to play long after the war ended.  Patricia I. Brown tried out for the league and was accepted to the Kenosha Comets as a pitcher in 1950.  She would end up on one of the leagueís touring teams, the Chicago Colleens, spending one year with the team before moving on to the Battle Creek Belles in 1951.  She would end her career with the Belles, opting to go to college, believing that the league would be waiting when she graduated.  Unfortunately, the league would disband in 1954.

            A League of My Own discusses the troubles Patricia Brown faced as a women with some lofty dreams for her era.  For one thing, there were very few womenís sports at the time and Pat Brown was an athlete who yearned to apply herself in sports usually reserved for men.  For another, Pat dreamed of going to college, something women rarely did at the time.  As we journey through some of Patís most formative years - before, during and after her time with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - we realize what strength and perseverance she had to possess to achieve her dreams - to play baseball, to go to college, to become a lawyer and eventually a law librarian.  Brown also gives us insight into the history of the league, why it folded, its recognition by Cooperstown, the movie based upon the league and more.

            Complete with photos chronicling Pat Brownís history before, during and after being in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, A League of My Own is an excellent look at one womanís triumph in the face of adversity and a view into a moment in history that marked a change in how women were seen at the time.  The book was a fascinating and fast read and I found the added interviews of former players to be icing on the cake.  A League of My Own is a book that every mother should read with their daughters as it chronicles a very important part of womenís history.


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