TDA - Mary Baumgartner Interview
"Wimp" Baumgartner was a catcher who spent the bulk of her career with the South Bend Blue Sox. She took the time to answer a few of our questions.Statistics from the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
While in High School in '43 the Ft. Wayne Daisies came to town. I watched them play and decided I could play when I got out of school.
2) Describe your signing.
Don't remember, just signed sometime in '45.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Getting paid to play ball. Meeting lifetime friends. In 1949 on tour - saw lots of the United States at a young age. First time away from home. From Midwest to Texas and Oaklahoma to Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
6) What was the highlight of your career?
1. Winning playoffs in 1952
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Jean Faut Winsh - Exceptional pitcher, best in league, played third base, good hitter, exceptional leader.
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?)
By the time I started playing in '49 - the press and fans were both doing a good job and enjoying the game.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
Enos Slaughter, Stan Musial, Billy Williams, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
No. They are a big bunch of sissie and spoiled little boys. Most are not dedicated to the sport or fans.
11) Should women have their own pro league, should they play in the majors, or should we have both (a women's league and the chance for the best women players to play in the majors?)
Women should have their own rules - field dimensions - ballparks. They should not be in the same city as a minor league team. Women should not play on mens teams at the professional level. If there is a women's pro league - there is no need to play on a men's team.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I don't know much about them. The only good I see is that at least some girls got paid to play. It's not the best situation.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
Started college in '53. School teacher 28 years, coached 28 years, basketball, volleyball, softball, gymnastics, track. Played 3B South Bend Rockettes - not champs. Took up golf at 58. Played sports at FN. Turners - National championships in volleyball and softball.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Go for it! Not too many professional sports. As you get older you treasure friendships with people all over the country.15) Any other memories or comments?
You owe me a Pepsi for doing this for you. I'm serious!!!
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