Honoring Women Baseball Players’ Place in History

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Baseball is back in business, as Opening Day festivities kicked off around the country to welcome back the Boys of Summer. 

The girls? They’re out back somewhere in the bleachers when it comes to baseball history. 

Maybelle Blair, 94, is out to change that. Blair, who pitched for the Peoria Redwings in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s, is one of the leaders in a movement to establish a museum that honors women in baseball. 

“It is so important to me that I’m going to, if I can stay on this side of the grass, you know. … We got to get this done,” Blair told today.com. “I think it’s so important for girls and women and underprivileged children.” 

Blair has teamed up with historian and author Kat Williams on the project, with the goal of building the International Women’s Baseball Center. 

A plot of land has been picked out in Rockford, Illinois, which was home of the Rockford Peaches, the team immortalized in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.”  

Directed by Penny Marshall and starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna, among others, the movie honors the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which existed from 1943 to 1954. About 30 women who played in that league are still alive.  

“It would mean everything. It would absolutely mean everything for us to deliver that to them, because they deserve it,” Blair said. “And the thousands of women before them deserve it. And the thousands who came after deserve it.”  

Cost estimates for the museum are about $8 million. Fundraising is underway. 

If established, the women’s museum would join other places that pay homage to the game, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 

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