Peaches & Wheelchairs

Peaches & Wheelchairs : The Dorothy Kamenshek Story

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Description

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dorothy "Dottie" Kamenshek was only nine years old when her father died of pneumonia. An only child, she was encouraged by her mother to stay active during the day while her mother worked. Dottie filled her time playing baseball with the other neighborhood boys and girls. She enjoyed the game and became very good at it. She dreamed of becoming a nurse for the US Army, but World War II was raging, and Dottie's mother wouldn't let her enlist while the United States was at war. The war affected every area of people's lives, including how they spent their leisure time. By the fall of 1942, many minor league baseball teams were forced to disband because so many young men had been drafted into the armed services. There was concern that the war might continue, and Major League Baseball parks across the country would face financial collapse. In 1943, Philip Wrigley, the owner of Wrigley's Chewing Gum and the Chicago Cubs, was looking for a way to keep the baseball parks in business. He founded the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The League sent out scouts and set up tryouts in dozens of major cities. Hundreds of women from all over the USA and Canada tried out to play in the new league. Of these, only 280 were invited to the final tryouts in Chicago, where sixty were chosen to become the first women ever to play professional baseball. Dottie's exceptional skills were noticed by a scout for the AAGPBL when she was seventeen years old. She was one of thirty girls from her area who won a chance to try out at Wrigley Field in Chicago. She was chosen for the League and became a member of the Rockford Peaches team, representing Rockford, Illinois. A left-handed first-base player, Dottie played ten seasons for the AAGPBL. She became the AAGPBL's all-time leader in hits and total bases run and played on the All-Star Team all seven times an All-Star team was created. She was the League's top batter in 1946 and 1947. Dottie suffered a knee injury that required physical therapy. This experience led her to become a physical therapist after her baseball career ended. She also suffered a back injury, which eventually led to her retirement; she played her last season of baseball wearing a back brace in 1954. In the AAGPBL, the players were required to appear feminine at all times. Mr. Wrigley was concerned that he would have trouble promoting female baseball in conservative parts of the country if the players did not uphold this rule. The players had to abide by a code of appearance that required them to wear skirts and makeup to play baseball. No boyish haircuts were allowed whatsoever, and players were not to be seen in shorts or pants. All social functions had to be approved by the League's chaperones. In addition, each player had to attend charm school. The female players were expected to follow this simple rule: "Look like women. Play like men." Women's League players earned $50-$100 each week. This was not enough to pay for physical therapy school, so Dottie also worked at a bakery to put herself through Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After gaining work experience in Ohio, Dottie moved to Los Angeles, California and began working at the Los Angeles County Crippled Children's Services Department. She eventually became their director and supervised over 100 physical therapists. After her retirement in 1980, she was honored by Los Angeles County with an award for outstanding management. Later in life, she was recognized in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Dottie Hinson, the character played by Geena Davis was loosely based on Dottie Kamenshek. She was honored again in 1999, when Sports Illustrated named her one of the 100 greatest female athletes of all time. Dottie died in May of 2010, having lived a very fulfilling life.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 24 pages
  • 216 x 280 x 2mm | 109g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • English
  • Illustrations, color
  • 1514168006
  • 9781514168004

About A Book by Me

Ava P. Goodson is a third grader at Riverdale Elementary School. She uses a wheelchair or a walker to get around since she was born prematurely with Cerebral Palsy. Ava's hobbies are participating in adaptive sports such as softball, cheerleading, water skiing, and horseback riding. She also enjoys reading, writing, and singing.show more