|All-American Girls Professional Baseball League|
November 8, 1922|
|Died: November 8, 2009
|Career highlights and awards|
Ellen Ahrndt [″Babe″] (November 8, 1922 – November 8, 2009) was an American second basewoman who played briefly in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during the 1944 season. Ahrndt batted and threw right-handed. Sometimes she is credited as Ellen Proefrock.
A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Ahrndt was one of seven children into the family of Edward and Helen (née: Patzke) Ahrndt. She grew up in a family farm in Racine, and spent her leisure time playing baseball with two of her sisters while her only brother was the manager.
At age 14, Ahrndt played softball in Racine and small towns around the area, and the state tournament was held in Milwaukee. She attended William Horlick High School, where she earned honors both in softball and basketball. She graduated in 1941, but did not lose interest in baseball. While playing softball, she received an invitation to come to the newly founded All-American Girls Professional Baseball League tryouts, which were to be held at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. With the prospect of making the $60 per week that was being paid to the members of the established teams, which was a vast sum of money by then, she decided to try her hand in the new league. She managed to win the job at second base with the South Bend Blue Sox for the 1944 season.
Ahrndt saw action in just three games. Once when South Bend came to Racine to face the Belles, the Blue Sox decided to honor her with a homecoming night. The Dumore Corporation sponsored the event creating a Babe Ahrndt Night at the field. Nevertheless, the next season she was not offered a contract.
Following her short AAGPBL stint, Ahrndt returned to Racine, where she married William Proefrock in 1947.
Ahrndt died on the date of her 87th birthday.
Ellen and her husband had two sons, Kurt and Kipp, and both centered their interest in the family. They also were partners in the Just for Him and Her clothing stores in Brodhead, Wisconsin and Evansville, Indiana.
Ellen loved to quilt, fish and make pies for friends and family, and her highly rated recipes can be found online.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, a grandson, her five sisters and her brother.
The AAGPBL folded in 1954, but there is now a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum since November 5, 1988 that honors those who were part of this unforgettable experience. Ahrndt, along with the rest of the AAGPBL players, is now enshrined in the venerable building at Cooperstown, New York.
In 1992, filmmaker Penny Marshall premiered her film A League of Their Own, which was a fictionalized account of activities in the AAGPBL. Starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty and Rosie O'Donnell, this film brought a rejuvenated interest to the women's baseball. Ahrndt received many writeups after the film gained cult status, being asked to speak to school children and grownups in different clubs.