Lois Youngen

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Lois Youngen
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Pitcher / Outfielder
Born: (1933-10-23) October 23, 1933 (age 83)
Westfield Center, Ohio
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Teams

Lois Joy Youngen (born October 23, 1933) is a former catcher and outfielder who played from 1951 through 1954 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m), 137 lb, she batted and threw right-handed. Following her baseball career, she excelled as a physical education instructor for more than 30 years.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Westfield Center, Ohio, Lois Youngen grew up dreaming of being a ballplayer while admiring the Cleveland Indians major league team, as well her interest in sports increased as she got older. It was in the years before Little League Baseball allowed girls to play. Her father, who had pitched for the Kent State University team in the 1920s, was also an avid baseball fanatic and encouraged Lois by teaching her how to swing and catch, while she accustomed to play sandlot ball with the neighborhood kids.[4]

As a teenager, Lois had the opportunity to play for a softball team in the nearby city of Ashland, where she gained the attention of a AAGPBL scout who signed her a contract to play in the league.[4]

AAGPBL career[edit]

Youngen entered the AAGPBL in 1951 with the Kenosha Comets, playing for them one year before joining the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1952. Then she opened 1953 with the South Bend Blue Sox, returned to Fort Wayne for the first half of the 1954 season and rejoined South Bend during the midseason.[1]

While catching for South Bend, Youngen caught a perfect game pitched by Jean Faut against the Kalamazoo Lassies on September 3, 1993. Her best season at the plate came in 1954, when she hit a combined average of .284 (59-for-208) in 65 games, driving in 35 runs while scoring 27 times.[1][4]

In a four-season career, Youngen hit .255 (83-for-425) with 39 runs and 44 RBI in 116 games.[1]

Bill Allington All-Stars[edit]

Once the league disbanded in 1954, Youngen played one year for a national touring team known as the All-Americans. The team, led by former Daisies manager Bill Allington, included selected AAGPBL players as Joan Berger, Gloria Cordes, Gertrude Dunn, Betty Foss, Jean Geissinger, Katie Horstman, Maxine Kline, Dolores Lee, Ruth Richard, Dorothy Schroeder and Joanne Weaver, among others. The Allington All-Stars played 100 games between 1954 and 1958, 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.[5]

Teaching career[edit]

Youngen completed her education while playing in the AAGPBL, and later earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Michigan State University.[2]

In 1960 Youngen joined the University of Oregon, where she became an emeritus professor of physical education. An athlete herself, she oversaw the women's track and field and tennis teams for brief periods and also taught a variety of recreational activities, including badminton.[2][6]

Youngen earned her doctorate degree from the Ohio State University in 1971 while maintaining a leadership role on campus. A true competitor, she was always one to take on a challenge, whether it entailed racing one of her male students in the 1970s, or pushing for recreational programs to be open to the community in the 1980s.[2]

In the 1990s Youngen focused on her duties as the Director of Physical Activities and Recreation Services at Oregon. In addition, she found new ways to improve the program and instituted facility rental options to help cover the department's costs. She also pushed to implement an absentee policy for PARS programs and assumed an integral role in securing funding for what would become the Student Recreation Center. She retired in 1996, after a 36-year tenure in the education area and community involvement.[2]

Since 1988 Youngen is part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display based at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, which was unveiled to honor the entire All-American Girls Professional Baseball League rather than individual baseball personalities.[7]

Lois Youngen currently lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she has remained active in the community and still has a passion for teaching.[2][3]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "AAGPBL website – Lois Youngen entry". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Athletics and the University of Oregon – Leadership and Legacy: Lois Youngen, from 1960 to 1996". 
  3. ^ a b "Intelius.com – Youngen/Oregon/#1". 
  4. ^ a b c "The Diamond Angle – Lois Youngen Interview". 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Baseball and the American Dream – Robert Elias. Publisher: M. E. Sharpe, 2001. Format: Hardcover, 308 pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-7656-0763-8
  7. ^ AAGPBL History