AAGPBL in Nicaragua 1949
For your amusement. I have been hoping to write more about this expedition, but there is little chance for some additional needed research. I hope you enjoy it.
In 1949 the girls of the AAGPBL made a tour of several countries, starting in Cuba. They added a few girls (some, like Sonia Violat, never played in the USA), a chaperone (Mercedes "Cucú" Hernandez de Leon), and they played in Guatemala and Nicaragua.
They were divided into two teams, Americanas and Cubanas.
Americanas had Dorothy Kamenshek at first, Carlina Schroeder (Dorothy's sister) at second, Dottie at short, Doris Tetzlaff at third, Edythe Perlick, Jane Steel and Marge Villa in the outfield and Shirley Stovrof as catcher. The pitchers included Margie Hodgson, Earline Risinger, Ruby Stephens and a girl whose last name was Jorgensen. The Cubanas had Inez Voyce, Sophie Kurys, Betty Trezza and Mary Reynolds first to third, Ysora del Castillo ("Chico"), Tibby Eisen and Laura or Luisa Gallegos in the OF, Sonia Villalat as catcher, and Myrtha Marrero, Isabelita Alvarez (15 years old) and Adelina Garcia pitchers.
Americanas, managed by Max Carey no less, won the first game, but then Cubanas took the last three. One of the games was played in the city of Leon, and the fans were so excited they threw all the oranges they could get their hands on at the umpire, which made the old lady who was selling the fruit cry. A collection was taken up inmediately, and the poor woman was given 10 dollars which made her very happy.
Nicaragua went crazy, and they went so far as to form a select team from the local softball players, who practiced a few days with the special balls and then took on the combined visiting team, the AAGPBL All Stars, in essence, who of course walloped the nicas. Nevertheless, women's baseball fluorished in Nicaragua for a couple of years.
When I visited Nicaragua in the 90s, there were still people who remembered those games very fondly. It was a thrill for many to see some of the "girls" at the end of "A League of Their Own". One gentleman I know had a very nice visit with Dottie Schroeder reminiscing about old times at her home in Illinois; someone also visited Ysora Castillo in Miami, and one old gent confessed to still being in love. "In my mind I can see Dorothy's pigtails flying as she came in for a groundball and then fired to first in one easy quick motion", he sighed.
For you male chauvinist pigs, the uniforms were the same as in the movie, Marrero was the sexiest ("great legs", fuller than now as befitted the times) but Dorothy was the cutest plus the best ballplayer, she was the only one to play in all 12 AAGPBL seasons. Charlie Grimm is supposed to have remarked that if Dottie was a man, she would be worth 50 000 dollars; a Cuban sportswriter answered that "as she is, she is worth 100 000...".
It's Luisa Gallegos. I recently met her and Mirta Marrero at a Cuban Sports Hall of Fame (distinct from the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame). They were very happy to be remembered, they both said that playing in the AAGPBL was the greatest time of their life, and they had great memories of Nicaragua, the fans were great.
My softball coach also played in the So American tour. It was actually two separate trips. One was right after the season and one before the next season . My coach was Helen Filarski and she was 3b for Rockford (2yrs) Kenosha/Peoria (1yr) and 3yrs for South Bend.She said they had a great time.