Maybelle Blair Pitched For The Peoria Red Wings During World War II

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — At the back of the Javits Center during All-Star FanFest sat a woman who knows firsthand all about playing professional baseball.

“I was a pitcher for the Peoria Red Wings,” said Maybelle Blair, an 86-year-old former professional baseball player.

The Peoria Red Wings became part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that was started during World War II, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

“The men went off to war and President Roosevelt decided to keep baseball going, that we should have a league,” Blair said.  “So he got a hold of Phil Wrigley and asked him if he could put a league together, and sure shootin’ Phil came through and started the league in 1943.”

All American Girls Professional Baseball League uniforms at FanFest (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League uniforms at FanFest (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Years later, Blair still has the battle wounds from the uniform skirts that the women wore while playing in the league.

“We got a lot of stone bruises,” said Blair.  “I’m still digging out gravel out of my rear end.”

The league ended several years after the men returned home from World War II, but Blair and her colleagues are trying to raise money for a museum of their own, reported Miller.

“We just came from Lancaster, Calif., where there were 1,600 girls playing,” Blair said.

After living out her dream playing ball years ago, Blair still hopes that the league will return one day.

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