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. 

AAGPBL Women Still Signing

Hit an early-season autograph slump?

Harvey Meiselman’s baseball address list has an unrivaled collection of addresses for retirees who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Imagine having your great-granny playing for Hall of Famers Max Carey or Jimmie Foxx. Forget the corny League of Their Own movie. These women were serious players. 
Write to one, and you’ll find out. The retirees still able correspond with fans like they’re kin. I’ve seen many on limited incomes who’ll shell out for cards and photos to send those who write. They answer questions and show gratitude to all baseball fans.
What to send? Custom card makers, check out www.aagpbl.org for inspiration.
Trouble is, the “girls” leaguer numbers are thinning fast. The league disbanded in 1954. The youngest player ever was 15. Do the math.
Write them while you can. 

Happy Birthday To My ‘Belle of the Ballpark,’ Author/Fan/Best Friend Diana Star Helmer

Do me a favor, please. Before you read the rest of this blog, before you check the baseball standings or search for more stamps and envelopes, say thanks.

Not to me. Thank your hobby MVP. There’s someone near you who’s made a difference in your life as a baseball fan and autograph collector. Whether it’s a child, parent, sibling, spouse or even pet, someone has been patient with you. Despite all those baseball games and trips to the mailbox, they still love you.

My hobby MVP is my wife, Diana Star Helmer.

She’s learned to love the sport, because she loves me. Diana even wrote a sensational book about baseball (the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League), Belles of the Ballpark. This out-of-print title is worth being searched for, in libraries or used bookstores.

Her work is even more stunning, considering that she corresponded with and interviewed worried old women. The production company responsible for the movie A League of Their Own intimidated former players, warning them that doing interviews of any kind before the movie’s release would jeopardize the film’s success. (In other words, director Penny Marshall’s gang wanted an exclusive.)

Hollywood couldn’t stop Diana, who won over the AAGPBL alums one by one, all due to her knowledge and passion for their history.

Diana owns one of the greatest autographed items ever. At a reunion, former players passed around Diana’s book. They autographed pages where their names were mentioned. They wrote in margins. They spotted their names in the index and signed there.

She’s earned my gratitude, admiration and love. Happy birthday!

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