AAGPBL Interview - Dolly Niemiec
Dolly Niemiec is a Chicago native who played infield 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 dad played in a softball league in Chicago - so he taught me to play the game. I played baseball with the boys in the neighborhood. There were no teams for girls 60 years ago. I joined a team in Chicago that was like the farm system of the AAGPBL. We had four teams - two from the North Side and two from the South Side. This was 1948.
2) Describe your signing.
When I was 16 my mother and dad took me down to the Wrigley Building, since that was where the League Offices were. They had to sign the contract giving their approval for me to play in the league.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played third base. I also played second base. I started off as a shortstop. I played for the South Bend Blue Sox for a very short time. I was traded to the Grand Rapids Chicks. I finished my baseball career in that city.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Having fun doing what I loved to do. Getting paid was a bonus.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
I never thought about what was the worst thing. Maybe the long bus rides. No superhighways like today.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Every ballgame was highlighted with something - winning - getting a hit - bunting the runners - singing a victory song.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Doris Sams (Kalamazoo 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?)
The fans were always great to us - cheering every game - making it fun to play before them.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
Luke Appling of the Chicago White Sox
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
We see a lot of spring training games. They are fun and I've thrown out the first ball at several. Today the players have a hard time having fun - too much money has spoiled the fun for them.
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?)
No women with men's teams. Women can't compete against men - and if you want to have the fans interest - don't get into the majors. It's been tried in the minors, it doesn't work!
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
They should have found another women's team. No fun watching them get beat in games lasting five hours.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I am married - 50 years in June 05. I have a family - grandchildren and I am a cheerleader now. I coached my sons teams - became an umpire for high school and college softball and baseball. I was a professional bowler. Now retired, spend some time in Florida and play golf.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Work hard, find a women's league.
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