Where Was Baseball By The Letters?

Posted October 20th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in AAGPBL, Belles of the Ballpark, Diana Star Helmer, Girls League, Summer Game Books

I could tell you.

Or, let me SHOW you.

I rode shotgun as my wife Diana Star Helmer put the finishing touches on a new edition of Belles of the Ballpark. If you liked the movie A League of Their Own, you’ll love the true story.
The AAGPBL player roster shrank each week as we worked. Nevertheless, there’s new correspondence with more than a dozen players. Many new chapters await!
We’ve submitted 70 possible photos to our editor, TRIPLE the amount of the first edition.
Lessons learned from a summer of girls league letters?
1. The league ended 60 years ago. Alums are age 80 and above. Health problems (or non-stop travelers) mean some responses won’t be fast.
2. Penmanship should be renamed penWOMANship. Many of these women became teachers. Their sparkling handwriting — sometimes, like calligraphy — astounds me.
3. These women still love the game. Answers to our letters proved it. One former player wrote a great explanation of why batting averages were lower than major league stats. To make sure I agreed, she added a last-minute detail. She TAPED her baseball card on the back of the envelope, back side up. 
No ego. She didn’t care about her picture. She just wanted me to see how her stats changed from season to season (just like the letter explained).
Summer Game Books looks like they’ll be a rising star in the world of baseball books for many seasons to come. We’re happy to play for their team. The book arrives in spring, 2015.

It’s good to be back!

AAGPBL Calls: Girls Leaguers Still Sign!

Posted August 14th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in AAGPBL, Belles of the Ballpark, Diana Star Helmer, Summer Game Books

A book deadline is calling.

I need to say, “See you in September.” Not forever, but only until I can help get one epic story back into print.
Meanwhile, you’ll find an archive of more than 900 posts here to keep your summer sizzling.
When I return, I’ll have news about the much-anticipated new and expanded edition of Belles of the Ballpark, thanks to talented co-author Diana Star Helmer and Summer Game Books. The AAGPBL survivors who are still physically able are signing by mail, by the way. I heard from 13 who answered questions for the book. Some were 90 and above. Write to these wondrous women soon.
Thank you for your support of the blog since 2010. I’ve always insisted that I’m about the stories behind the signatures, instead of mere autographs.
You’ll see more of why this project has been so important this fall. When September call-ups happen, I’d be grateful if you’d promote me back to your active roster.

Revisiting the AAGPBL: Testing Girls Leaguer Response Rates

Here’s news, plus a request:

First, I hope you’ll cheer with me for a new edition of an AAGPBL book by my wife Diana Star Helmer. I get to co-author on this revised edition of the title. 
The 1992 book was entitled Belles of the Ballpark. This updated edition will look at all the things the later movie A League of Their Own did and DID NOT accomplish. Interviews with Casey Candaele and the late Woody English (an AAGPBL coach) will be part of the added package. Best of all, this is the chance to tell the complete story of two women who salvaged the league’s disappearing history in the 1980s.
The book releases this fall from Summer Game Books
As I wrote earlier, the AAGPBL veterans were thrilled to autograph Diana’s copy of her book, referencing the specific page she mentioned each one on. While corresponding with the remaining alums this summer, I’ll share what they have to say about TTM autographs. 
Meanwhile, readers, any tips on great girls leaguers who’ve signed for you would be much appreciated.
These women played a Red Cross benefit game at Wrigley Field in 1943 using portable lights. That was the first-ever game at night in the Friendly Confines.The 1988 night game at Wrigley simply became the first Major League game under lights. History with an asterisk. You should have heard the flustered Cubs PR guy on the phone that year when I told him about the press clippings confirming the prior event. “We can neither confirm nor deny…GARGLE GARGLE GULP!”
The AAGPBL history-makers have many untold stories. Diana and I want to share more of their classic tales, allowing these fine ladies to tip their caps one more time.