Lee Surkowski

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Lee Surkowski
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Center field
Born: (1925-10-26) October 26, 1925 (age 91)
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Lee Surkowski (born October 26, 1925) is a former Canadian center fielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in parts of four seasons spanning 1945-1948. Listed at 5' 5", 128 lb., Surkowski batted and threw right handed. She also played under the name of Lee Delmonico.[1]

Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Lee Surkowski was one of the 57 players born in Canada to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in its twelve years history. An AAGPBL talent scout spotted Surkowski while playing softball in Canada and offered her a contract to play in the league without a previous tryout.[2][3]

Surkowski entered the league in 1944 with the South Bend Blue Sox, playing for them two and a half year before joining the Rockford Peaches during the 1946 midseason. Her older sister, Anne, also played in the league.[4][5]

Surkowski was the everyday center fielder for South Bend in her rookie season. Over 97 games, she batted a .212 average with a .288 on-base percentage and a .284 of slugging, while driving in 29 runs and scoring 32 times. She also tied for third in home runs (3) and for eighth in doubles (7), a pretty good performance considering it was a dominant pitching league.[6]

On defense, she committed only five errors in 159 fielding chances to lead all center fielders with a .969 fielding average. She also tied with Racine Belles' Claire Schillace for the most double play (4) at center field. During the regular season, she belted two homers against Kenosha Comets' Elise Harney in the same game. In an interview, Surkowski stated that it was her greatest achievement in a single game.[3][7]

In 1945, Surkowski posted a slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) of .209/.268/.264 with 42 runs and 34 RBI in 106 games, and finished ninth in triples (4) while tying for eighth in doubles (8). In 1946 she hit a combined .200 average for South Bend and Rockford in 82 games, helping the Peaches reach the postseason.[7]

Surkowski did not play in 1947 due to family reasons, but returned the next year with the Fort Wayne Daisies for her last season. She played all outfield positions, batting .186 in just 63 games, and returned for the postseason.[5][7]

She married Alphonso Delmonico, which limited her play on the field. She then moved in 1957 to California, where she raised three children: Barry, Randy and Teri Lee. Lee became an US citizen in 1970.[3][5]

A longtime resident of Rancho Mirage in California, she has been honored with many recognitions and awards over the years. In 1998, she garnered honorary inductions in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame. She is also part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display based at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, which was unveiled in 1988 to honor the entire All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.[8][9]

Career statistics[edit]

Batting

GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB TB BB SO BA OBP SLG
351 1166 128 237 21 16 5 85 98 305 108 93 .203 .286 .262

Fielding

GP PO A E TC DP FA
339 505 44 30 579 9 .948

[7]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ All-American Girls Professional Baseball League official website – Lee (Surkowski) Delmonaco profile
  2. ^ The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical DictionaryW. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2005. Format: Softcover, 295 pp. Language: English. ISBN 978-0-7864-2263-0
  3. ^ a b c "The Diamond Angle – Interview with Lee Surkowski". 
  4. ^ 1944 South Bend Blue Sox
  5. ^ a b c The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
  6. ^ All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record BookW. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2000. Format: Softcover, 294pp. Language: English. ISBN 978-0-7864-3747-4
  7. ^ a b c d All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book
  8. ^ Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum website
  9. ^ Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum website