AAGPBL Interview - Mary Lou Studnicka
Mary Lou Studnicka was a pitcher for Grand Rapids in the early '50s. She recently took some time to answer our survey:
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I played in a Chicago park with the boys teams and the coach developed the farm clubs for the AAGPBL.
2) Describe your signing.
No big deal like the signings today. Got a letter and a contract telling me where to report for spring training and the salary I would be getting. Sign and return!
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
In pro ball I was a pitcher and played for the Grand Rapids Chicks 1951-3.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
6) What was the highlight of your career?
My rookie year when I won 12 games before I lost my first game.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
My teammates Connie Wisniewski (pitcher) and Inez Voyce (first base). Jean Faut of South Bend was an amazing pitcher.
8) Do you think the fans and press accepted you more as the years wore on? (Describe how it was when you started. Did increased exposure change some minds?)
I think that true baseball fans realized that women could really play the game and were real fans every year.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
I grew up loving the Brooklyn Dodgers, but being a Chicago Southsider I guess you could say that Luke Appling was my favorite.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Yes, I watch a lot of baseball. The players from the '40s and '50s were real men. They played hurt if the team needed them and they really knew the game. Today's players are overpaid and a lot of them need to learn the game.
11) Should women have their own pro league, should they play in the majors, or should we have both?
Women should have a chance to play pro ball in a women's league. The physical differences between men and women prove that men are usually stronger and more enduring than women. There are exceptions of course.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
The Silver Bullets didn't do women's sports any good by playing against men's teams.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I have had a good life. I married and had three daughters. When my first husband died I married the second time and had a happy 31 years with that partner. I am a widow now but I have seven grandchildren. The oldest, a girl of 22, is in the Navy and the youngest, a girl of 4, is going to rock this world in a few more years.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Get your education, stay healthy, have a balanced life and PRACTICE!
15) Any other comments or memories
The great ballplayer Rogers Hornsby encouraged me when I attended one of his baseball schools. I worked hard at learning the game because he believed I could do it.
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