|All-American Girls Professional Baseball League|
April 14, 1935 |
|Career highlights and awards|
Catherine Horstman [″Horsey″] (born April 14, 1935) is a former female utility who played from 1951 through 1954 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), 150 lb., she batted and threw right-handed.
A dependable and versatile utility, Horstman excelled as a pitcher and catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, being also able to play at third base and all outfield positions. As a pitcher, she was the dream of every manager, being a long reliever one day, volunteering to make an emergency start the next, and saving a game out the day after that. Horstman also was a good defensive catcher, with a good throwing arm and the ability to get most out of a pitching staff. But she was a superb defender at third base, demonstrating good range and throwing from any angle with remarkable accuracy. As a hitter, she ranks in the AAGPBL all-time list with a career .286 average (6th) and 23 home runs (11th), despite playing just four of the league's twelve seasons.
A native of Minster, Ohio, Horstman was the youngest girl in a home of six children. Whenever they played baseball she did it. She started to play on the Catholic Youth Organization softball team in Minster since the fifth grade. At 16, she was invited to tryouts for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and signed a contract for $250 a month to play with the Kenosha Comets before the 1951 season.
Horstman started 1951 with Kenosha but was traded to the Fort Wayne Daisies during the midseason, playing for them until the demise of the league in 1954. In her rookie season, she pitched, caught and played at outfield, hitting a combined .256 batting average in 38 games, and going 3–0 with nine strikeouts and a 2.35 earned run average in six pitching appearances. Fort Wayne reached the playoffs, but lost to the South Bend Blue Sox in the first round, two games to one. Horstman saw more action in 1952, appearing at third base and pitching. She hit .250 in 90 games, and posted a 5–2 record with 28 strikeouts and a 2.35 ERA in ten decisions. The Daisies advanced to the playoffs for the second year in a row, this time finishing in first place with a 67–42 record, but again lost the first round, 2-to-1, to the Rockford Peaches.
In 1953, Horstman hit .292 with 46 runs batted in and 23 extrabases in 94 games, including 46 runs and a career-high 14 stolen bases. She also went 11–5 with 57 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA in 17 games, being selected for the All-Star Team at third base. The Daisies won the title with a 66–39 mark. The explosive bats of Wilma Briggs and the sisters Betty Weaver Foss and Joanne Weaver provided the difference in the league. Briggs belted a league-lead nine homers, while Joanne led in average (.346) and Betty in RBI (81) and stolen bases (80), but Fort Wayne lost for the third consecutive year in the first round, now with the Kalamazoo Lassies, 2-to-1. In the All-Star Game, played on July 14 at Memorial Park, the Daisies defeated the All-Star team in an 11-inning effort behind Jean Geissinger, who belted a walk-off home run, and Horstman, whose relief pitching silenced an All-Stars potential rally in the 9th inning.
During what turned out to be the league’s final season, the girls hit a regulation-sized baseball. The strong Daisies lineup won the title with a 54–40 record. Once more, Joanne Weaver led all hitters with a remarkable .429 average and a best-ever 29 home runs, while her older sister Betty hit .352 with 14 homers and 54 RBI. Other contributions came from Geissinger, who hit a second-best .377 average with 26 homers and a league-high 91 RBI. Meanwhile, Horstman posted career numbers in average (.328), home runs (16), hits (98), doubles (13), RBI (55), runs (68), total bases (163) and slugging (.545). She played at third, caught and pitched, adding to her resume a 10–4 mark with 46 strikeouts and a 2.85 ERA. In the playoffs, Fort Wayne dispatched the Grand Rapids Chicks (2-to-1) and Kalamazoo did the same with the Blue Sox.
1954 Championship Title
In Game 1 of the AAGPBL Series, the Kalamazoo Lassies defeated the Fort Wayne Daisies 17–9 behind a four-hit, seven strong innings from June Peppas, who also helped herself by hitting 2-for-4, including one home run. Her teammates Carol Habben and Fern Shollenberger also slugged one each, and Chris Ballingall belted a grand slam. Pitching star Maxine Kline, who had posted an 18–7 record with 3.23 ERA for the Daisies during the regular season, gave up 11 runs in six innings and was credited with the loss. Hortsman connected two home runs for the Daisies in a lost cause, and her teammate Joanne Weaver slugged one.
The Daisies bounced back in Game 2, hitting five home runs against the Lassies to win, 11–4. Horstman started the feat with a two-run home run to open the score in the first inning. In the rest of the game, Betty Weaver Foss added two homers with five RBI, while her sister Joanne and Geissinger added solo shots. Peppas, Nancy Mudge and Dorothy Schroeder homered for Kalamazoo.
In Game 3, the Daisies won the Lassies, 8–7, fueled again by a heavy hitting by Joanne Weaver, who hit a double, a triple and a three-run home run in five at bats, driving in four runs.
In Game 4, starter Gloria Cordes helped Kalamazoo to tie the series, pitching a complete game victory over the Daisies, 6–5. Habben drove in two runs who marked the difference, while Kline suffered her second loss of the Series.
In decisive Game 5, Peppas pitched a clutch complete game and went 3-for-5 with an RBI against her former Daisies team, winning by an 8–5 margin to gave the Lassies the Championship title in the AAGPBL's last ever game. She received support from Balingall (3-for-4) and Schroeder, who drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eight. Peppas finished with a .450 average in the Series and collected two of the three Lassies victories, to become the winning pitcher of the last game in the league's history.
In four playoff appearances, Horstman was a .255 hitter (13-for-49) with three home runs and seven RBI in 15 games, including seven runs, three doubles and one stolen base, dividing her playing time at third base or catching.
When the league was unable to continue in 1955, Horstman joined several other players selected by former Daisies manager Bill Allington to play in the national touring team known as the All-Americans All-Stars. The team played 100 games, each booked in a different town, against male teams, while traveling over 10,000 miles in the manager's station wagon and a Ford Country Sedan. Besides Horstman, the Allington All-Stars included players as Joan Berger, Gloria Cordes, Jeanie Descombes, Betty Foss, Mary Froning, Jean Geissinger, Gertrude Dunn, Maxine Kline, Dolores Lee, Magdalen Redman, Ruth Richard, Dorothy Schroeder, Jean Smith, Dolly Vanderlip and Joanne Weaver, among others.
Life after baseball
In the 1960s, Horstman graduated from Medical Record Librarian School. She later joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart religious order for five years, to become the first nun in the United States to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. For the next decade, she taught physical education in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio before returning to her hometown of Minster, where she initiated girls sports programs, including volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, track and field, cross country and softball. By 1980, she focused in coaching on track and cross country. For the next five years, her girls teams never lost a track meet. After being runner-up State Champions in 1975, the inaugural year of girls track and field, her track team won five consecutive state championships (eight overall). She also guided her cross-country running squad to two state championships. Ending up 25 years in Minster, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she oriented a clinical social work method to the sports area.
Horstman has been named Midwest Athletic Conference League Coach in all sports numerous times, and has been inducted in five hall of fames in baseball and track. In 1988, she attended to the opening of a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York that honors those who were part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She gained induction in the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, and also is the first woman honored in the Ohio Track Hall of Fame and the first woman elected into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Horstman has been widely recognized for her coaching skills and by opening doors for women in sports. In total, her teams have won seven state high school track meets and have been runner up four times; has won one state high school cross country championship; has won all 12 track and five cross countrty conference meets; has won 11 track and two cross country district/regionals, and has coached 29 individual state high school track meet champions.
Retired, but very active, Horstman has played second base for the Ohio Cardinals slow-pitch team since 1992. In recent years, the team has won two gold medals and two bronze medals in the Senior Olympic Games. She also participates in the Sports Educators Baseball Club in the Los Angeles area and raises funds for charities in California. In her spare time, she is a coordinator for Elderhostel in Palm Springs. She is currently living in the close community of Palm Desert.
She is the great aunt of Bradley Barhorst
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League entry
- Baseball Historian entry
- Baseball Reference Bullpen entry
- The Diamond Angle - Interview by Lou Parrotta
- 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 0-7864-3747-2
- Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball – Leslie A. Heaphy, Mel Anthony May. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2006. Format: Paperback, 438pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-7864-2100-2
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book – W. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2000. Format: Paperback, 294pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-7864-3747-2
- 1953 All-American Girls Professional Baseball League All-Star Team
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League History
- Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers entry
- Women in Baseball: The Forgotten History – Gai Ingham Berlage, Charley Gerard. Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994. Format: Hardcover, 224pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-275-94735-1
- Ohio Women's Hall of Fame biography
- Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame - Class of 1986
- Star-Collector.net entry