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Monday, March 12, 2007


Last weekend I had the chance to make a quick trip to Spring Training sites in Arizona attending four games in three days. I'll have more to report on Baseball Prospectus and here but one of the interesting little diversions was found at Surprise Stadium on Saturday afternoon. About 45 minutes prior to game time a panel was held that included eight women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was in existence from 1943-1954 and was of course made famous by the 1992 film A League of Their Own. I didn't realize that at first the game they played was actually softball but that the rules were changed over time to make them identical to baseball. Too bad that trend didn't take hold.

In any case the ladies answered questions from the audience and each shared which teams they played for. For the most part the women were paid between $50 and $65 a week with $3.50 per day meal money, which many of them insisted was good money for the time.

In addition to the ladies, Fergie Jenkins, who lives in the area, was on the panel and alternated taking questions from the bevy of Cubs fans in attendance (the Cubs were playing the Royals that day).

Jenkins was asked the inevitable Ron Santo why isn't he in the Hall of Fame question and simply stated that the process is broken and that he would like to know the five members who didn't vote for him. In a conversation afterwards as I procured a signed baseball, he said he thought when Bruce Sutter was inducted, that it would have been fitting for Rich Gossage and Lee Smith to go in at the same time. He also talked about his charitable work a bit and when questioned about pitch counts was adamant that there is a causal link between the money pitchers make today and their use of the disabled list (he said he was on the DL once and only because of a ruptured achilles). He also said that in his final spring start of the year he would go 9 innings to ensure that he could do so once the season started. He completed 267 games in his career.

As Fergie was finishing out his career with the Cubs in 1982-83 I can recall tuning into as many of his starts as possible and scoring the games when I could (the game prior to the one where he recorded his 3,000th strikeout sticks in mind particularly). I was amazed by his control and his pitching patterns and even purchased his book on pitching written with David Fischer, Inside Pitching and tried to apply what I could to my high school pitching career such as it was. In any case it was a great pleasure meeting him.

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