Marguerite Pearson

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Marguerite Pearson
Marguerite Pearson.jpg
All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Infield/Outfield/pitcher
Born: (1932-09-06)September 6, 1932
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: January 4, 2005(2005-01-04) (aged 72)
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Star Team (1953)
  • Women in Baseball – AAGPBL Permanent Display
    Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (1988)

Marguerite Pearson (Tesseine) (September 6, 1932 – January 4, 2005) was a utility player who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League between the 1948 and 1954 seasons. Listed at 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m), 125 lb., Pearson batted and thew right-handed. She was nicknamed ″Dolly".[1]

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League flourished in the 1940s when Major League Baseball went on hold as men went to World War II. The league was created in 1943 by the Chicago Cubs' owner Philip K. Wrigley, and disbanded at the end of the 1954 season. In its twelve years of history, the AAGPBL gave over 600 women athletes the opportunity to play professional baseball and to play it at a level never before attained.[2]

During her seven-year tenure in the AAGPBL, Dolly Pearson moved around for a while, playing for seven different clubs in seven different cities as the league shifted players as needed to help weak teams stay afloat. A versatile utility, she played all positions except catcher before becoming a regular shortstop. Pearson never had the opportunity to play for a pennant contender or a champion team.[1]

After her baseball career was over, Pearson made a name for herself promoting youth sports activities to provide a safe and family-oriented environment on the field, which gained her induction in several Halls of Fame.[3]

Born in Pittsburgh (Hazelwood), Pennsylvania, Pearson was the daughter of William and Retha (Hayes) Pearson. She graduated from Allderdice High School in Hazelwood. She was playing sandlot baseball with the boys and was gaining a reputation. And a AAGPBL scout caught wind, and signed Pearson at the age of 14 nearing 15, the youngest player ever to play in the league.[4][5]

Pearson entered the league in 1948 with the Muskegon Lassies, playing for them for one year before joining the Peoria Redwings (1949), Racine Belles (1950), Battle Creek Belles (1951), Kalamazoo Lassies (1951–1952), South Bend Blue Sox (1953) and Grand Rapids Chicks (1954).[1]

On the last day of her rookie season, Pearson celebrated her 16th birthday to everybody's surprise, because everyone thought she was already 16 (the minimum age according the rules), so she had played illegally all year. In addition to Dolly, she also received one of the more unusual nicknames in the AAGPBL – "Buttons". Pearson received her curious nickname on a trip with the club, when she wanted to play with all the push-buttons in the train. Overall, Pearson appeared in 82 games and hit .182 with 15 runs and 12 RBI.[6][7]

In 1949, Pearson batted .216 with Peoria, playing only in 30 games at various positions. At Racine the next year, she started at center field and posted a .235 average with 41 runs and 47 RBI in a career-high 110 games. Then in 1951 she found herself on the move again, this time to Battle Creek, where she started at shortstop, the position she would play for the rest of her career. In addition, she was sent to Kalamazoo in the midseason, combining for a .190 average in 100 games for both teams.[1]

Pearson hit .185 in 44 games for Kalamazoo in 1952 and moved to South Bend in 1953. She appeared in 90 games for the Blue Sox, batting .185 with 29 RBI and 38 runs scored, being selected for the All-Star Team in 1953. Then she joined Grand Rapids in 1954, during what turned out to be the AAGPBL's final season. The league reduced the size of the ball 10 inches to major league size that year. As a result, Pearson started hitting the ball with authority and posted a .326 average with 18 home runs and a slugging of .544, driving in 47 runs while scoring 41 times, setting career-marks. In 85 games, she committed 29 errors in 350 chances for a .917 fielding average.[1][2]

Once the league folded, Pearson started playing slow-pitch softball in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, where her club won 18 championships. She married Edward Tesseine in 1955. The couple raised four children: Retha, Sam, Ron and Ed, and had five grandchildren; Taylon, Kaedria (Sam), Stacy, Rodney and Russell (Retha). She worked in the Central Michigan University athletics department for several years, while helping her husband run the bar they owned at Mount Pleasant, E.J.'s Lounge, until 1981.[3][6]

Widowed in 1991, Pearson retired in 1994 and was involved in the Foster Grandparents Program. Children were always an integral part of her life, as she started the first T-ball program in Mt. Pleasant. She also trained and coached boys' baseball and girls' softball at various levels in the Michigan area, and coached senior girls' bowling for many years.[3][6] She was the Grand Rapids, Michigan City Woman's singles' bowling Champion in 1968.

Honors and awards[edit]

Since 1988 she 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. She also gained inductions into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame, the Michigan Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame, the Michigan State Softball Hall of Fame, and the Mount Pleasant Bowlers Hall of Fame.[3][6]

Dolly Pearson died at her home in Mount Pleasant, Michigan at the age of 72.[1]

Career statistics[edit]

Batting

GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
541 1760 195 381 36 14 18 197 70 279 183 .216 .324 .284

Pitching

GP W L W-L% ERA IP H RA ER BB SO
5 0 2 .000 9.02 11 14 14 11 11 1

Fielding

GP PO A E TC DP FA
518 971 1121 201 2293 99 .912

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "All-American Girls Professional Baseball League official website – Dolly Pearson entry". 
  2. ^ a b "AAGPBL History". 
  3. ^ a b c d "All-American Girls Professional Baseball League website – Dolly Pearson Tesseine Obituary". 
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball – Leslie A. Heaphy, Mel Anthony May. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2006. Format: Paperback, 438 pp. Language: English. ISBN 0-7864-2100-2
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball
  7. ^ The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League