TDA - Earlene Risinger Interview
Earlene Risinger was a pitcher in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for The Diamond Angle.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
Just with boys on cow pastures of Oklahoma. Also high school, girls couldn't play then so I coached first base for my high school team.
2) Describe your signing.
They needed overhand pitching then, so I just got in touch with them. I started out for Rockford, Illinois in 1947. Got to Chicago, turned around and went back home. Then the next year I went to the Springfield Sallies for one year. The rest of time I was with the Grand Rapids Chicks.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
Pitcher for the Springfield Sallies and Grand Rapids Chicks.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Doing what you loved and getting paid for it.
5) What was the worst thing?
Long bus rides.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Striking out Sammy Sams, a cleanup hitter, with bases loaded, to win the pennant in 1953.
7) How about listing an All-Star team from the League?
Can't remember. That was almost 50 years ago - I was on one of them.
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?)
When I started in 1948 fans loved us.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
Allie Reynolds, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio.
10. Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Yes. I liked it better when there was only the American and National Leagues and not all these divisions. Better players and pitchers in my era.
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 doubt if anyone will come up with money to form one. However we do have many excellent softball players out there, due to us paving the way for them.
12. With all the progress women have made in recent years, why do you think there is no pro women's league?
It would take too much $$$ to get started.
13. How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I think girls or women should play against each other, not against men.
14. Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
Worked in the medical profession until I retired in 1991.
15. What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Keep playing fast-pitch softball. Many get scholarships to college now to play softball.
16. Any other memories or comments?
Many memories. Reunions we have - first one 1982 - then every 2 or 3 years afterwards. Much recognition since the movie came out in the early 90's - A League of Their Own.
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