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March 18, 2023

A League of Their Own: Amazing Photographs From the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1945

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was a professional women’s baseball league founded by Philip K. Wrigley which existed from 1943 to 1954. The AAGPBL is the forerunner of women’s professional league sports in the United States. Over 600 women played in the league, which consisted of eventually 10 teams located in the American Midwest. In 1948, league attendance peaked at over 900,000 spectators. The most successful team, the Rockford Peaches, won a league-best four championships. The 1992 film A League of Their Own is a mostly fictionalized account of the early days of the league and its stars.

The uniform was a one-piece short-skirted flared tunic with a team patch in the center of the chest. The base uniform was designed by Wrigley Company art director Otis Shepard, assisted by Wrigley’s wife Helen and Chicago softball player Ann Harnett, the first player signed by the league. Shepard was also the longtime art director for the Chicago Cubs and spearheaded a series of innovative uniforms beginning in 1937. Shepard designed all visual elements of the league, including game scorecards and promotional materials. For his work on the AAGPBL and the Cubs, Shepard was called the “chief visualizer of mid-century baseball.”

Shepard modeled the uniform after the figure skating, field hockey, and tennis outfits of the period. The uniforms included satin shorts, knee-high baseball socks, and a baseball cap. The team patches were modeled after each respective city's seal.

In the beginning, each team was issued one uniform style, to be worn in all games. Shepard unveiled the inaugural uniforms in a palette of pastel colors: green for Kenosha; yellow for Racine; blue for South Bend; and peach for Rockford. The accessories (cap, belt, stirrups) were bold darker shades of the team color. As new teams were added, they were given a new distinctive team color (gray for Milwaukee, pink for Minneapolis). Road uniforms were introduced to the league starting with the 1948 season.

(Photos by Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection)


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