In 2021, The History Museum is celebrating two special events related to the South Bend Blue Sox. Highlights are below and more details will be available soon. Help us defray the cost of the marker as well as support improvements to the gallery that holds our exhibit about the AAGPBL by donating to the AAGPBL Historical Marker Fund today by clicking the button below!
A historical marker will be placed near the site of the former Playland Park, an area now owned by Indiana University South Bend, to mark the location where the South Bend Blue Sox played baseball from 1946-1954. The Blue Sox was one of the original teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPL) when it was established in 1943. The History Museum was notified of the decision by the Indiana Historical Bureau, Division of the Indiana State Library.
Also, Betsy Jochum, a member of the original South Bend Blue Sox, celebrates her 100th birthday on February 8.
Betsy Jochum, a member of the original 1943 South Bend Blue Sox baseball team of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), is turning 100 on February 8, 2021. We are celebrating with a drive-through parade. Please join us! We are meeting at 3:30 pm at Trinity Church, 61770 Miami Road, and parading from there to Southfield Village, 6450 Miami Circle. Betsy will be watching us from the lobby window and the South Bend Cubs’ mascot, Stu, will be at the front entrance cheering us on. The History Museum is closing at 3:00 pm on Monday so that staff may participate in the parade.
Betsy Jochum: Betsy “Sockum” Jochum was a pitcher and played outfield for the South Bend Blue Sox. As a lead-off hitter, she was one of the fastest runners in the league. In 1944, the South Bend Blue Sox outfielder led AAGPBL hitters with a .296 average. A versatile athlete, she was asked to pitch in 1948, the first year the AAGPBL featured overhand hurling. The result: The right-hander posted a record of 14-13 and a 1.51 ERA in 215 innings. Betsy played for the South Bend Blue Sox through the 1948 season, when she retired. In 2001, Betsy was inducted into the South Bend Baseball Hall of Fame, and a plaque with her name is at Four Winds Field.
Send us birthday wishes for Betsy for a video the museum is creating as a special gift to her.
Celebrate the installation of the historical marker at a ceremony taking place in at the site of the former Playland Park.
The women who made up the teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) were pioneers in sports–yet played for the love of the game. They crisscrossed the Midwest making history in ball parks–yet just wanted to drive in the scoring run. They were immortalized in the film, A League of Their Own–yet still gather at annual reunions simply to see “old friends.” Their story is told in Polished in Public, Fierce on the Field, on view in the Lower Level Lobby at The History Museum.
With the entrance of the United States into World War II, Philip Wrigley was apprehensive that major league baseball would suffer due to the number of players being drafted into the armed services. In creating the women’s teams, he hoped that stadiums would remain full and public support of major league baseball would stay active.
And it worked. In the mid-sized towns of the Midwest, there was significant support for the 14 women’s teams that were part of the AAGPBL. The teams included the Rockford Peaches, South Bend Blue Sox, Kenosha Comets, Racine Belles, Milwaukee Chicks, Minneapolis Millerettes, Grand Rapids Chicks, Fort Wayne Daisies, Muskegon Lassies, Peoria Redwings, Chicago Colleens, Springfield Sallies, Battle Creek Belles and Kalamazoo Lassies.
The History Museum is a repository for the League’s artifacts, photographs and documents. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League collection includes photographs, programs, film footage, scrapbooks and playing equipment used by the teams. Individuals and institutions from across the country turn to The History Museum for research and information on the AAGPBL.
South Bend was one of the four original cities to first field teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The South Bend Blue Sox remained a team for all 12 years of League action, one of only two teams to play for the entire duration. Virtually every single AAGPBL team member who ever pitched, caught, batted, or fielded on a team was in South Bend at one point during her career. Every player has a history, no matter how brief, of baseball play in this community. Even after League play ended, South Bend Blue Sox players have continued to live and work in the area.
For more information about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, visit: www.aagpbl.org
Items in Collection:
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame: 1998 AAGPBL Induction Memorabilia
AAGPBL players stat sheets
AAGPBL personal papers: records
AAGPBL League Contract; diamond layout; exhibition game; letters; magazines & phamplets
AAGPBL player development tour (program, roster, spring training schedules)
AAGPBL Baseball Cards
AAGPBL Videos of partial games and reunions
AAGPBL Record Book
Beauty and Health Book
A League of Their Own Materials:
Reproduction tickets, scorecards and programs
Most popular items of research:
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