From Our Archives: Alice Hohlmayer

Inside the Women’s Museum of California archives are sports memorabilia from famed World War II-era baseball player, Alice “Lefty” Hohlmayer.

Items in the collection included photographers, signed trading cards, baseballs, and a collectible bobblehead doll.

These items help preserve the legacy of the groundbreaking All-American Girls Baseball League and the athletes who paved the way for future women in professional sports. The memorabilia of Alice Hohlmayer that reside in the Women’s Museum archives serve as representatives of the more than 600 women who played in the league for the 12 years it existed.

 

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Born in Springfield, Ohio in 1925, Alice “Lefty” Hohlmayer turned her youthful fastpitch hobby into a baseball career.

At age 20, Hohlmayer got the unique chance to play in a professional baseball league. It was an opportunity women players today can only dream of. Lucky for Hohlmayer she was born at just the right time. During WWII, Professional Baseball came to a grinding halt while male players were drafted overseas. In order to fill the empty stadiums and to keep morale high, a new baseball league was born. Baseball fans turned to the women of America to fill the national pastime gap. Lefty joined the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1946 at its heydey, boasting 8 teams and playing 110 game schedules.

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The women of the AAGPBL had to adapt from Girl’s Softball to baseball’s 80-foot baseline with 9 players (instead of 10) and gruelling road schedules. And they had to live up to society’s idea of femininity, complete with skirts and make-up that was worn on and off the field–those bare legs paid the price with every slide into base. In 1948, Left pitched 42 scoreless innings, once got a hit off the great Satchel Paige in an All-Star game and was the only woman in the “55 years and over World Men’s Slow Pitch Tournament” in 1981.  In 1992 she was asked to consult on the Geena Davis film “A League of Their Own”. The character Rosie O’Donnell played in the film was loosely based on Holhmayer.

In 2005 Holhmayer was inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame.


 

Learn about the other inductees of the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame

Read about the history of the AAGBL

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