AAGPBL Interview - Rose Folder
Rose Folder was a one-year player in the AAGPBL. She took the time to answer a few of our questions.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
My interest in playing ball started in grade school. The pastor of our parochial school was really interested in putting a team together, and showed me how to pitch softball. From there, I played in Springfield and in Chicago as a semi-pro with the Tungsten Sparks team.
2) Describe your signing.
My contract can at the end of my senior year in high school. I was 17, and took my exams early to get to the Peru, IL tryouts. I made it to the roster of the Kenosha Comets in Kenosha, WI.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played infield, either shortstop or third, also in the outfield - usually right field, as well as pitcher. I played only one season for the Kenosha Comets
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
The best thing about playing pro ball was being able to play a game you loved, with girls who also loved it, and getting paid to do it.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
I believe the long road trips on the bus were the worst thing as they took so much time away from playing ball.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career was making the cut to be place on a team, after seeing the hundreds of talented girls at the try out. That was a real thrill.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Our whole Kenosha Comets team was the best. It was a family that always got along and we had a manager who was super. Ann Harnett was a super catcher. Helen Nicol, Mary Pratt, Honey Koehn, Audrey Wagner, Lou Calcito and Gertie Ganote...
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?)
Yes, I believe that at first the fans thought we were a joke. As time went by, they realized how good we were and how serious about the game we were. At first we had mostly little kids and families in the stands. But that changed once they saw a game or so. We had lots of loyal fans.
9) Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
We always seemed to listen to baseball games on the radio - so I tended to root for the Cubs whenever they played. I have met several players over the years at Fan Fests. Enos Slaughter, Joe Black, Dom DiMaggio and several Mariners as well.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Yes, I seldom miss a Mariners game on TV, and go into Safeco Field occasionally to see a game. There is no comparison to our day. The fields, the crowds are all much bigger, and the players are pretty well apart from the 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?)
I believe that women should have their own pro league. And, no, I don't feel women should play in the majors. I don't feel women have the strength or stamina, or are emotionally set up for major league play. There will never be another All American - the situation was so right at the time! We filled a space when it was needed.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I'd hoped the Silver Bullets would succeed, but I felt their play against men's teams was not fair to them. My personal experience with them was at a Tacoma Tigers game here in Tacoma where they were to play. I was to throw out the first pitch with another of our girls. The Bullets did not come out of their dugout at all to meet us. They were very rude in my opinion. They didn't stay for autographs - just got in their bus after the game and left. We were very disappointed!
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
My life has been busy. I married, raised six children, have nine great-grandchildren, eight grand. I have been to baseball reunions and have enjoyed meeting new people and visiting as well, with all our players for a few days. I think it is amazing that the interest is still alive and well in the League. We have folks from all over the world who join us at the various cities, and also who write for autographs and pictures. It's wonderful to be acknowledged.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
My advice has always been for young women to remember to always do their very best and never lose sight of having fun playing the game! When the game becomes only a job, it's not fun any more.
15) Any other memories or comments?
Playing in the All American was a wonderful experience that has always been with me. I learned to have patience, determination, and most of all, to be a "lady" as Mr. Wrigley wanted us to be. Memories of our days in charm school have been some that have stayed with all of us "girls" over the years.
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