Sue Parsons Zipay and Lois Youngen On The Legacy Of The AAGPBL, MLB & More
Two former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League players reflect on baseball history
On May 30, 2018, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League will be celebrating its 75th anniversary as the date of the league's first game in 1943. To celebrate this anniversary, original players of the AAGPBL will be participating in a multitude of upcoming events, including the MLB All-Star FanFest.
Furthermore, the story of the AAGPBL is currently in talks to become the subject of an upcoming Amazon Original series.
For many people, the AAGPBL first got onto their radar as a result of the hit movie A League Of Their Own, which starred Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O'Donnell. While that film was entertaining, it did not tell much about the story of the AAGPBL itself.
The league was founded by Chicago Cubs owner (and chewing gum mogul) Philip K. Wrigley as a result of the United States' War Department's plans to draft many Major League Baseball players to serve in World War II. Ultimately, 60 women were signed to AAGPBL player contracts, forming four teams that played 108 regular season games.
To learn more about the AAGPBL and its related past, present and future, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with two former players, Sue Parsons Zipay and Louis Youngen. More on the AAGPBL -- including information about its MLB All-Star FanFest tie-in -- can be found online at www.aagpbl.org.
What do you wish more people knew about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League?
Sue Parsons Zipay: How intense, devoted, and talented most of the players were and how high the level of play was.
Lois Youngen: We were highly-skilled baseball players and we were very good!
Is there an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League career accomplishment of yours that you are most proud of?
Sue Parsons Zipay: Signing my contract and remaining in the league after the first year.
Lois Youngen: I am proud of catching a perfect game; one of only two during the overhand era. Both pitched by the superstar Jean Faut.
After playing as part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, did you become more of an MLB fan?
Sue Parsons Zipay: Not really. I was always a die-hard [Boston] Red Sox fan and a [Atlanta] Braves fan before they moved from Boston.
Lois Youngen: I am not a big Major League Baseball fan. Players get paid an obscene amount of money, they can’t play if they get a hangnail, and they don’t seem to have time to sign autographs for eight and nine-year-old kids!
Do you have a favorite MLB team these days?
Sue Parsons Zipay: Red Sox.
Lois Youngen: I grew up a Cleveland Indians fan since I am from Ohio.
What was the last baseball game you attended, MLB or otherwise?
Sue Parsons Zipay: Baltimore Orioles, 2016 spring training at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, versus the Red Sox.
Lois Youngen: I saw my undergraduate school, Kent State University play Toledo last April in Kent. The game started at four or five in the afternoon and it went 15 innings and it was a cold evening and I left the game after eight innings. I think they finished at 11 o'clock or later…
How do you feel about the movie A League Of Their Own? Is there anything that you feel it got completely wrong?
Sue Parsons Zipay: It was well-done and mostly-accurate with some added spice. The manager’s inappropriate behavior never happened and he never came into locker rooms.
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League anniversary aside, what are you currently working on?
Sue Parsons Zipay: The legacy of the AAGPBL league and creating another women’s baseball league, so young girls will have a choice between softball and baseball.
Lois Youngen: I am working to support Little League and Babe Ruth baseball in the Eugene/Springfield, and as an educator, I am working to get physical education back into the public schools.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Sue Parsons Zipay: Fight hard and don’t give up! You need to lose before you can learn how to win.
Lois Youngen: Follow your dreams if you have a raging passion! As important, study hard, stay in school and get a good education.