Why I Feel Kalamazoo Owes Penny Marshall One Last ‘Thank You’
The woman who starred in 'Laverne & Shirley' and legendary Director Penny Marshall passed away yesterday at the age of 75. Marshall directed 'A League Of Their Own,' the 1992 sports drama film staring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, and Madonna, which was a partially fictionalized story of how the All American Girls Professional Baseball League was started. The film brought much attention to the league, which only lasted 10 Seasons (1943 to 1954).
The interesting thing about this is that because of her passing, it prompted me to do a little for research about the league and helped me discover something about the league I never knew. The very last season was played in 53'-54' and the Play-Off Champions were none other than the Kalamazoo Lassies. That's right, Kalamazoo had a pro girls baseball team.
They began in 1950 after Muskegon could no longer support their Lassies team. The team didn't perform greatly until the 52'-53' season where they first made the playoffs and faced the Grand Rapids Chicks in the finals, but lost both games.
Kalamazoo took on Fort Wayne's Daisies in the finals of the final season of the AAGPBL and won the best of 5 series in Game 5. Thanks to Penny Marshall, I now know Kalamazoo has, in its history, a pro sport championship. Thank you Penny.
A jacket worn by 53' player Isabel Alvarez is featured in the Baseball Hall Of Fame