The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is an important part of baseball’s rich history. And to reflect that history and the legacy of the women who played the game, for the first time each of the 15 AAGPBL teams will have their own bobblehead.
Made by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and available to purchase Friday, these bobbleheads will give baseball fans the chance to know more about the AAGPBL and the 15 teams that played in the league over its 11 operational years. “A League of Their Own” introduced the world to the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles, but there were 13 other teams in the league and now everyone can get to know them a little better.
Phil Sklar, co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, told Yahoo Sports he has a particular closeness to women’s baseball that inspired the project.
“It’s a rare day when we don’t think of an idea for a new bobblehead — we’re always watching out for new opportunities,” Sklar said. “My co-founder, Brad Novak, and I were both born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, so we grew up knowing more about the AAGPBL and the Rockford Peaches than most.”
Sklar and Novak realized that only a few of the 15 AAGPBL teams had any kind of official bobblehead, so they reached out to the league last summer to see if they could change that. The AAGPBL was all for it and jumped on board the project.
The process of developing and producing the bobbleheads took nearly a year. It could have been done in less time, but Sklar, Novak, and the AAGPBL wanted to make sure every detail was right. They worked with league experts who know the team uniforms, colors and patches to make sure every detail was accurate.
Since most casual fans are only familiar with the Rockford Peaches from “A League of Their Own,” Sklar hopes that the new AAGPBL bobbleheads will help educate more people about the history of the League and each of the 15 teams.
“One of our missions at the Hall of Fame and Museum is to educate people through bobbleheads,” Sklar said. “They’re a great conversation starter and often spark curiosity to delve deeper into the history of the subject. The AAGPBL bobbleheads are a perfect example, as we think they will do exactly this. The bobbleheads will be conversation starters and lead to even more interest in the league and its teams.”
There is no better time for these bobbleheads to come out. 2018 is the 75th anniversary of the AAGPBL, and the former players, their families and fans from around the country will be gathering in St. Louis, Missouri on Sept. 6-9 for their annual reunion. The women who played in AAGPBL are getting older every year, and celebrating them and their accomplishments while they’re still around is imperative.
But celebrating the AAGPBL is especially important now, as the U.S. and other countries prepare to send teams to the Women’s Baseball World Cup. The World Cup, which will take place from Aug. 22 to 31, is the highest level of women’s baseball, much like the AAGPBL was in the 1940s and 1950s. There is no professional, organized women’s baseball in the United States right now, so for women and girls who play baseball, the World Cup is the ultimate goal.
The women of the AAGBPL were trailblazers, and the women on USA Baseball’s World Cup team are continuing to follow that trail while trying to blaze one of their own. As women and girls struggle to find ways to play baseball — not softball — the legacy of the AAGBPL (and the bobbleheads that celebrate it) is more important than ever.
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