His favorite sport growing up was hockey. As a defenseman, Fergie wasn’t afraid of getting into a scrap or two. During one such game, the local baseball scout that turned Fergie into a pitcher attended his hockey game and wanted to know one thing, “why are you so violent?” and Fergie’s response, “because I’ve got to protect my goalie!”
Katie’s road to the AAGPBL started with a handsome priest from Kentucky and ended with an insurance agent moonlighting as a scout for the AAGPBL.
Jim knew he wanted to be a baseball player by the time he was seven-years-old, and he made sure everyone in his family knew that was his dream, but what he heard back was, “Too bad that he’s so small.” Fortunately, Jim had the desire to learn and compete. So, how did he learn to play the game of baseball, by going out and playing, it didn’t matter if there were only two of his friends around or enough for an actual game, they were out there playing and having fun.
Hawk’s story of the night he signed with the Braves reads like a Mickey Spillane novel with teams demanding him to come to their city and tryout, to teams camping out in motel rooms waiting on a phone call to continue the negotiations. Hawk has fantastic stories about sneaking into a major league team locker room, how he got his first set of catchers equipment, and something that no one denies … his confidence.
Dolly played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League as an infielder from 1948 through 1952, playing for teams out of Chicago, Springfield, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids, and then played on barnstorming teams that toured the southeast and up the East Coast during the off-season. She retired after the 1952 season, not because she wanted to retire, but because of an auto accident. After retirement, Dolly became a professional bowler, coached her son’s baseball teams and umpired high school baseball and softball.
Jim showed me a wall of pictures from his days playing baseball. I enjoyed both seeing these pictures and hearing his stories of each team, when he said to me, “There’s only a few of us left, dog-gone-it.” It was a brief statement he made under his breath, but a statement that was very powerful in its meaning