Grand Rapids Chick Inez Voyce dispels AAGPBL movie glamor

I found this 1947 candid of Voyce, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum website!

I found this 1947 candid of Voyce, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum website!

I’m on a mission.

After co-writing a new book about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, I’ve wanted to reach as many of these surviving players as possible.

I’m pleased to say 90-year-old Inez “Lefty” Voyce (a U.S. Navy veteran!) replied in just three weeks. Yes, she included her nickname in the signature.

The best part of her letter?

Q: What do you remember about your 1946 tryout in Mississippi?

A: Lots of bugs.

On second thought, a creepy-crawly scene like that might be great for a movie about the league, or the highly-publicized new AAGPBL musical!

Affordable baseball photos great for autographing: meet Detroit’s best-kept secret (that Jim Thome knows…)

(From the artful eye of Carol Sheldon!)

Co-writing the new edition of the book Belles of the Ballpark with Diana Star Helmer brought us a new friend. My wife and I discovered Carol Sheldon, one of the most knowledgeable fans of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in existence. 

Well, Carol has many talents. She’s been a gifted photographer and avid Tigers fan for years. Lucky for us, she has combined the two passions. Best of all, Carol is making her shots available to fans and collectors.

Q: How many MLB baseball photos do you have in your archive, ones that you’ve taken? How far back do they date?
A: I take an average of 400 a game and I go to about 30-35 average games a year plus playoffs. Since about 2000 I‘ve used digital and before 2000 I used film back to around the mid 80’s.
Q: What percentage of the photos are of THAT team (you know, your Tigers?)?
A: I’d say 85-90 % but if we are playing some with stars then I shoot them too. For example, I got Thome’s 599 and 600 HR’s                                             
Q: What percentage taken at Comerica? Any from Tiger Stadium? Have you shot at other ballparks?
A: Well, Comerica opened in 2000 so 90% , Film shots at Tiger Stadium especially the last year and last weekend.  I’ve been to about 35 ML stadiums and my camera is always with me so I do have pictures from each stadium mostly of the Tigers and pics of each stadium. (But I’m not that organized. I do have shoe boxes filled with negatives that are organized sort of.) I’ve also visited about 35 minor league stadiums too.
Q: Readers would be sending these out for autographs by mail, or in person. How many of the depicted guys have seen their photos (and I know that players, current and former, are still thrilled to see new views of themselves)? Have you shared in person or by mail?
A: Over the years I’ve worked on getting some of my good shots signed at the stadium and in the 80’s I sent 3.5×5’s in the mail to get signed. I’ve given players copies of something special. They do like that. Thome signed a copy of #600 for me and I gave him one plus a disk with shots of his family meeting him at home plate.
Q: Last question: can you share even one short tale about a good reaction from a current or former player over your photos?
A: Thome was nice and ask my name so he could personalize it. I got a very nice note back from Doyle Alexander after I sent him a photo.
Q: How can readers get your photos?
A: 5×7 = $ 2.00 8x 10 = $7 11 x 14 = $10 plus shipping. Shipping would be $2.50 to $5.00 for single photos. Additional cost for multiple photos. If you don’t see the player you want ask! I also have stars from other teams!  I can be reached at csheldon25@hotmail.com.  

Forget The Movie: Girls Leaguers Knew The REAL Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx

A League Of Their Own was a movie. JUST a movie.

The 1992 movie introduced unknowing baseball fans to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. 
But a fact-based retelling? Magazines were quick to look for real-life equivalents for all characters.
The Tom Hanks character? A down-and-out former player who hit more than 500 home runs, but drank too much, only to get one last chance as a manager?
Well, Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx managed the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1952. He hit 534 homers. Maybe…?
Try asking a real AAGPBL player about the real-life skipper. 
While working on the revised edition of Belles of the Ballpark, I received a kind letter from Dolly Ozburn, a young pitcher for the ’52 Daisies. She wrote:
“Jimmie was a very nice and caring person. He was okay as a manager, but since I was only 15, I had few managers to which I could compare him. I learned the most about baseball from his successor, Bill Allington.”
In other words, there’s history and Hollywood. Seldom, the two will meet.
Dolly was elected to the Milwaukee Brewers Hall of Fame in 2005. She’s been a star in keeping AAGPBL history alive. A tip of the cap to her!