AAGPBL Interview - Mary Weddle
Mary Weddle played one season for the Ft. Wayne Daisies of the old All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. 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?
I was from a family of 16 children, my brothers and my dad all played ball. So I played with them. Did not play on a team. I did get to play short stop for 7th and 8th grade boy's teams, but could not play in high school! I tried out for a team in Phoenix, Arizona. I played softball for the A-1 Queens in Phoenix in 1953, then came to Ft. Wayne to play baseball in 1954.
2) Describe your signing.
It was the biggest thrill of my life, to get paid to play ball. It was so exciting I could hardly believe it!
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
Short stop, outfield and pitcher, Ft. Wayne Daisies.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
I loved playing ball, and I loved traveling very much! I grew up on a farm, didn't go anywhere, so getting to see all those different places was a real joy to me, as was playing.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
There wasn't anything bad about playing ball! I enjoyed it very much!
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Pitching a one-hitter for the Ft. Wayne Daisies in 1954.
Bunting with two strikes a couple of times and beating it out. I could run fast and could bunt so the manager had confidence in me to lay down a bunt and beat it out.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Played against Dottie Shroeder, a great short stop and ball player. Betty Foss, who was our first baseman. Her sister, Jo Weaver, who could play centerfield better than anyone I had ever seen; she had a batting average of .429. These two girls played on my team. There were lots of good players. They were all good.
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 only played one year, but as far as the fans and the press, they were great. The fans and press were very supportive of us the year I played. Some of our games toward the end of the season were televised, which was an exciting thing.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
Everyone on the Cleveland Indians! Ha! They were my team then. Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Mickey Mantle, Ted K. There were so many greats back then!
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Yes I do. I watch my Cincinnati Res all the time, or listen to them on the radio.
They don't seem to enjoy it - it is more like a job and the money is the main thing. Some are always hurt and on the disabled list. It wasn't that way with us or the old-timers. I do not approve of the steroid use. Do what you can on your own strength. I do not get caught up in all this home run junk when I feel they are all pumped up with steroids.
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 league. They should stay in their own league. Women aren't as strong as men. In their own league they can do well, and will be accepted.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
Did not see them play so don't know much about them. From what I read and heard on TV, I would like to see them in a women's pro league.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
Married Lewis Hines, who was a wonderful person and husband. We had three children, Steve, Gina and Sheila. Have five grandchildren.
Did not play ball again until I was in my 30s. Then played until last summer. I did not work outside the home at a full time job. I have been coaching high school softball and middle school softball for nine years. I have enjoyed that very much. I have a grand daughter, Abby, on a middle school team. Coached another grand daughter, Natalie, from 6th grade through high school. So it has been very enjoyable for me to coach. Lost my husband to cancer two years ago. So being able to coach was a big help.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Work hard at playing. Have a great attitude. You must have fun, if you can't work hard and have fun, don't play. But always do your best. Always look like a lady. Look like a lady and play like a boy. Ha! Always be a lady, always have pride in the way you look.15) Any other memories or comments?
It was a wonderful experience. This is no way to describe it. The way the fans were was just wonderful. They were all good to us. I had a room at the home of the Mach's. They were the biggest fans. It was a pleasure to live in their home and to know their family. Our manager, Bill Allington, was a very nice person. And was always a gentleman around us ladies.
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