Dorothy Kamenshek is often called the best female baseball player ever playing first base and at bat. At only 17, when Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley founded the All-American Girls Professional League in 1943 because, most of the Men’s League was drafted for World War ll, Mr. Wrigley inspired her to try out in Chicago. Dorothy made the team and lasing from 1943 to 1953 she played for Rockford, Illinois, for the team named “Peaches” taking over the first base with a strong left had.
Dorothy was also known as “Kammie” and “Dottie. “ Kammie was in the AAGPBL for 10 years and was selected for 7 All-Star teams; she held the league’s top put-out record and won the batting title 2 years in a row. Out of 3,736 times she stepped up to the bat she only stuck out 81 times. Former New York Yankee Wally Pip said Kammie was “the most accomplished first basemen” he has seen “men or women.” A Florida Men’s baseball team actually offered Kammie a spot on their team and she refused because, she thought it was just a publicity stunt.
In the year of 1953, Kammie retired because, of back injuries and went off to study at Marquette University in Milwaukee, for a Physical Therapy Degree. Kammie then got a job being a physical therapist in Michigan and became the chief of the Los Angeles Crippled Children’s Services Department showing that her skills were not just on the field. Dorothy Kamenshek passed away on May 17, 2010 in Palm Desert California.
Dorothy is an inspiration for young girls everywhere. She was loosely portrayed in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” played by Geena Davis. There are multiple articles and biographies about Dorothy Kamenshek like“Kammie on First” and in 1999 Sports illustrated for Women chose Kammie as the 100th greatest female athlete of the 20th century and was the only baseball player selected to be on the list.
Through the Month of March, the Rockford Housing Authority is recognizing the countless contributions that women have made to our nation. WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH is the history of women in the United States, the state of Illinois and our community. By exploring these important stories, you will able to understand our nation’s history and explore the remarkable legacies of American women. Through letters, photographs, film, and other primary sources of the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum you will join in commemorating and joining in celebration of the vital role of women in American history. https://womenshistorymonth.gov/