AAGPBL Interview - Elsie Wingrove
Elsie Wingrove was one of the many Canadians who played 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?
It was a pastime sport that we grew up with on a farm in central Saskatchewan. The family played - my two brothers, our dad and my sister. Every Sunday the neighbors congregated at our farm; the kids played ball in the pasture, the men played horseshoes in the laneway and the ladies picked fruit from our garden.
2) Describe your signing.
I was asked by a scout from the AAGPBL, he was at the Western fastball playoffs in Stoon, SK. I happened to have a very good night when he was watching.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played outfield when I was with the Grand Rapids Chicks, and I also played a short stint with the Ft. Wayne Daisies. In Canada I played for the Saskatoon Pats.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
I loved the comradeship, they have been life time pals. It was just a terrific experience.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
It was a job and sometimes we would pray for rain to have time off.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Almost hitting the ball out of the park in Grand Rapids. Hit the left field fence and it bounced over.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Best played with were the Grand rapids Chicks, they were outstanding. There just were no slouches in the AAGPBL.
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 did not play until 1946 & 1947, so the league was well established. Fans were great and the press was polite and sometimes told it like it was.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I am sorry to say I cannot stand to watch baseball as it is played today, especially with the salaries they get. They really do not rate these high salaries. I would have played for nothing as long as the league would have paid my room and board.
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?)
This is difficult, but I would like to see another league formed like ours and be recognized by baseball fans. We were good.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I am a Canadian and never encountered the Silver Bullets. But I have heard of them.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I got married and raised a family of two boys. I sometimes filled in on the border league men's team when they were lacking players. But not too often. I played with my boys and helped my husband coach a little league team. My younger son was a very able player, but his work in the oil field left him no time. Now we watch a couple of grandchildren and great-grand children play ball and hockey.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Set you goals no matter what in life and work towards that goal. In sports always play to the best of your ability - but win or lose, be a good sport. Also, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.15) Any other memories or comments?
I just hope that others have such wonderful opportunities in life that I have had.
Sorry my writing is so poor. I was in a very bad car accident in 2003 and now have only one hand and eyesight in one eye.
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