Catherine Bennett (baseball)

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Catherine Bennett
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Pitcher
Born: (1920-09-04)September 4, 1920
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Catherine Bennett (September 4, 1920 - ?) was a female Canadian pitcher who played from 1943 through 1944 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5' 5", 120 lb., she batted and threw right-handed.[1]

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Bennett was one of the original players to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for its inaugural season.

During World War II, Wrigley was in charge both of the Wrigley Company and the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball club. Wrigley decided to found the league as a promotional sideline to maintain interest in baseball as the military draft was depleting Major League rosters of first-line players. Wrigley had scouts all over the United States, Canada and even Cuba signing girls for tryouts. About 500 girls attended the call. Of these, only 280 were invited to the final try-outs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where 60 were chosen to become the first women to ever play professional baseball.[2]

The league started in 1943 with four teams: Kenosha Comets, Racine Belles, Rockford Peaches and South Bend Blue Sox, and each team was made up of fifteen girls. Bennett survived the final cut and was assigned to Kenosha.[1][2]

In her first season, Bennett divided her playing time between Kenosha and South Bend, recording ten consecutive losses to set a league mark. The next year, she improved to a 14-9 record with the Blue Sox.[3]

The league folded in 1954. It was a neglected chapter of sports history, at least until 1988, when was inaugurated a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, New York, which is dedicated to the entire league rather than any individual figure.[2]

After that, filmmaker Penny Marshall premiered her 1992 film A League of Their Own, a fictional history centered in the first season of the AAGPBL. Starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty and Rosie O'Donnell, this film brought a rejuvenated interest to the extinct league.[4][5]

Bennett and other 63 girls that represented Canada in the AAGPBL form part of the aforementioned display at Cooperstown. They also gained induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.[6]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – Catherine Bennett entry". 
  2. ^ a b c "All-American Girls Professional Baseball League History". 
  3. ^ The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary – W. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2005. Format: Paperback, 295 pp. Language: English. ISBN 978-0-7864-3747-4
  4. ^ IMDb.com – A League of Their Own (1992)
  5. ^ ESPN Page 2 – Reel Life: A League of Their Own - Article by Jeff Merron
  6. ^ Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum