Former players still in a league of their own
More than 50 of the history making players from the All-American Girls Baseball League were on hand at Alliance Bank Stadium to greet fans and sign autographs. The women were immortalized in the movie "A League of Their Own", but it's their real life contributions that had the biggest impact on many who came out to meet them. Our Sarah Blazonis has the story.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's obvious when you get up close that this is no ordinary game of baseball. But then, these are no ordinary players.
"Life is about models and mentors, and that's what these ladies are," said Ede Moody, a junior player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1953-1954.
Former players of the league is a title that many never expected they would hold. It wasn't until a college basketball teammate asked Jane Moffet to tag along to tryouts in 1949 that she knew it was even possible.
"I said to her, 'You have to be crazy, girls don't play baseball.' And she said, 'Oh, yes they do,'" remembered Moffet.
What followed for Moffet was a three-year career playing professional ball. And, what followed for generations of women and girls who love sports is a new way of looking at what the future held.
"These ladies laid the foundation, I think for girls in athletics. Not just baseball and softball, but for everybody," said Lindy West, a member of the Wings Over Syracuse women's softball team.
Almost 60 years after the league ended its 11-year run, the inspiration continues. Hundreds came out to the annual reunion to meet and get autographs from the women.
Players say part of that popularity is thanks to the 1992 movie, "A League of Their Own", a film now double the age of some admirers.
Many said the highlight of the day was getting to see members of the league's Players Association take on local team, Wings Over Syracuse. Members of that team said just because they were playing against some of their idols doesn't mean there wasn't a little friendly competition.
"Hey, boy, we're gonna clean their pillows," yelled Maybelle Blair, former AAGPBL player and coach at Saturday's game.
"They've been trash talking all morning since we got here," said West. "I think it's gonna be really fun."
It's also historic. Organizers say this is the last time this event will be held in Syracuse.
Almost 70 years after the league was founded, it was one last chance for fans and players to get together, play a game, and celebrate the tearing down of a barrier that never existed for today's youngest generations.
"I think that it's a fun sport and I want to do it for the rest of my life," said Evelyn Webster, a 10-year-old fan and softball player who worked as a bat girl at the event.