Category Archives: Daisies

Fort Fragments: Donovan, Durango, Diasies, Photos and More

Donovan: The Baseball Engine That Keeps Trying

Since the day the Padres drafted him in 1999, (Todd) Donovan has been an unwitting subject of a riveting novel. Cut a swath through the organization … injury. Repair and regenerate … Triple A … injury. Repair and regenerate … get to the 40-man roster and major league camp … injury. Repair and regenerate … set minor league records … injury.

Just so you know: Donovan’s ailments haven’t been Pavano-esque. He’s crashed into more walls than most NASCAR drivers. The unofficial list: two broken thumbs, two broken fingers, a broken bone in his hand and a torn elbow ligament.

And still … still! He’s at the ballpark an hour before his younger teammates to play a Double-A game.

Speed Burner

Missions manager Terry Kennedy admits he was surprised to see left fielder Luis Durango land on his Opening Day roster. The Panamanian, who played for his home country at the World Baseball Classic, is widely regarded as the fastest player in the San Diego Padres farm system but at 22 is a raw talent.

Prospect’s speed has Pads intrigued

A switch-hitter signed out of Panama for $12,000, Durango has reached base in about 42 percent of his some 1,400 plate appearances since debuting in the Venezuelan summer league five years ago.

“He’s got a chance to be an exciting guy,” said Grady Fuson, the Padres’ director of scouting and development.

Ocala woman enjoys a niche in baseball history

Mava Lee “Tommy” Thomas (Fort Wayne Daisies) went from local softball leagues to the heady world of professional fast pitch baseball, snagging herself a spot in baseball history along the way…

Thomas was determined to play, and her father, who knew league manager Max Carey, arranged an audition.

“He watched me play for about 15 minutes and told my dad I was in. I couldn’t believe I was going to get paid for playing a game I loved,” Thomas recalled.

Finally,  if you’re looking for professional photos of Parkview Field that don’t fit the norm that the umpteen other blogs out there have posted, check out Anna Lynch McClary’s blog.

Fort Wayne Daisies’ Havlish Donates Glove to Hall of Fame

Jean Havlish, who played shortstop for the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1953 and 1954 has donated her three-finger glove to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“I got the glove in 1953 and played both years in the league with it,” Havlish said. “I even used it playing catch up to this year, and it’s in pretty good shape. I hated to part with it because it was a part of me, but I am very happy to have it in Cooperstown. It is overwhelming.”

Read more at the Hall of Fame’s website. Hat tip to Dan at OMGReds.com for referring the link.

Fort Wayne Daisies Photos

The Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBl) have become a wonderful legacy to Fort Wayne. When I was working on Baseball in Fort Wayne, as I talked about the project, I heard “you gonna have anything about the Daisies in there?” or similar questions often. For the record, I do. Albeit, not as much as I would have liked.

Since that time, I have found some other on-line resourcesand previously existing resources have been added to. I don’t own the copyright to any of them, so I cannot show them here. However, I can link with a bit of narrative, so here goes:

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) Website: This is the most obvious place to start. However, not quite as large a repository as you might expect.

FloridaMemory.com has several outstanding photos of the Daisies while they trained in Opa-locka Florida. Great individual shots include; Dottie Schroeder, Marg Callaghan sliding into home plate, Marie Wegman “arguing” with umpire Norris Ward, Mary Rountree, manager Dick Bass giving members of the club pointers on new 10-3/8, and more.

The Allen County Public Library has a great community album that includes many local baseball photos, including several Daisies photos. Some of htem are:

I should also mention that the Northeast Indiana Center for History in South Bend has a sizable AAGPBL repository, but none are on-line. Stop in and see it if you are in the area. The same can be said of the Allen County – Fort Wayne Historical Society as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The latter also has a great educational guide on the history of women in baseball, called “Women’s History: Dirt on Their Skirts”.

CONTEST! Win a Vintage Blue T-Shirt

Okay, so I guess Christmas Eve is not the best time to do a contest! Anywho, I am still giving away this awesome T, so the rules are still the same: 1.) Follow fwbaseball on Twitter, and once you do 2.) send a Direct Message (DM) and you get entered. I’ve had many do the first step, but only a couple have done the second. So, I’m extending the deadline. 6PM EST on Monday, December 29th, I will select a winner.

Original Post is below:

A few days ago, I blogged about the wonderful stuff over at Vintage Blue. I hope you had a chance to peruse their site and perhaps even take advantage of the holiday promo code.

Well, here’s another reason to like the good folks over at Vintage Blue: They’ve provided me with a Fort Wayne Daisies T-shirt to give away . . . any way I see fit (no pun intended). So, here’s the details:

Follow fwbaseball on Twitter. That’s it. Once you’re following me, send me a direct message to enter. Say whatever you want in the message. On Wednesday, 12/24 all entrants will be placed into a drawing for the rad T. I’ll select one at random. I’m even going to pay for the shipping costs. 🙂

Obviously, this won’t make it to you in time for Christmas, but I promise to send it out as soon as I can after the holiday.

No Purchase Necessary. Some will enter. One will win. Odds of winning are fully dependant upon the qualified entrants.

Fort Fragments (Daisies): Ruth Hartman, Dottie Collins, Beatrice Kemmerer, Ruby Heafner

I have been watching some Fort Wayne Daisies headlines come though lately. Here’s a sample:

  • Breeder Played Pro Baseball: The York Daily Record (Pennsylvania) caught up with the former Daisies and Racine Belles infielder Ruth Hartman as she tended to the sheep she brought to the York Fair.
  • There’s Crying in Baseball: A nice post at Dinged Corners blog about Dottie Collins.
  • America Loses It’s All-American Girl: The Sporting News’ coverage of Dottie Collins.
  • A league of her own: The Plymoth Indiana Pilot catches up with Beatrice Kemmerer, who played one season with the Daisies before being sent home with a hurt ankle and ending up on the South Bend Blue Sox softball team the same year the team won its first of two league championships.
  • Four inducted into Gaston Sports Hall: Former Daisies, Ruby Heafner was recently inducted into the Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame (The Gaston Gazette – Photos).

Note: This post was updated on September 9, at 8:43PM

Recapping Dottie Collins Coverage 2

Dottie CollinsAn update to previous posts, AAGPBL great and NEIBA Hall of Famer, Dottie Collins passed away recently. Several outlets reported the news and many have produced wonderful recaps of her life and career.

Over the weekend, I learned of several more. Again, it’s a wonderful tribute to a treasure of a woman. Here are the excerpts and links to the additional coverage:

Baseball pitcher Dottie Collins dies at 84

She pitched underhand, sidearm and overhand; she threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups; and in the summer of 1948, she pitched until she was four months pregnant. She won more than 20 games in each of her first four seasons. She threw 17 shutouts and had a league-leading 293 strikeouts in 1945 for the Fort Wayne Daisies, when the women’s game resembled fast-pitch softball. But Ms. Collins’ greatest contribution to women’s baseball may have come when its ball clubs had long been forgotten [Richard Goldstein; New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle].

Final note sung for ex-Daisy

Despite the reminder, Alvarez said she still raised her hand after the funeral and stood by herself before the mourners, singing the league’s song.

As the tearful Alvarez struggled to continue, she was soon joined by Baumgartner and Harding, and the three finished the song together, singing, “We’re all for one, we’re one for all, We’re All-Americans.”

The performance garnered applause from the mourners, Eckler said, and demonstrated the bond that exists among the members of the All-American Girls Baseball League.

“I think it just epitomized the culmination of the love those women had for each other,” Eckler said. “Dottie would have done the exact same thing.”[Becky Manley; The Journal Gazette].

DOTTIE COLLINS, STAR PITCHER IN WOMEN’S BASEBALL, DIES AT 84

Sadly, after the AAGPBL folded, it was all but forgotten, and the girls lost contact with each other. That is, until their superstar got involved. Because of Dottie’s efforts, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown created its Women in Baseball exhibit.

Penny Marshall’s movie, A League of Their Own, recounts the history of the league. It’s one of my favorite movies and features some big names. The movie focuses mainly on Dottie and her sister, with Dottie being played by Geena Davis.

Note: This blog post includes a chilling excerpt from the end of A League of Their Own – Nearly brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.[ThirdWaveDave].

Dottie Collins, 84, pro league pitcher, dies

June Peppas, a rookie with the 1948 Daisies, remembered how Collins “kind of played mother” to her and fellow rookies, teaching them how to conduct themselves as professional athletes, and how she provided emotional support for former teammates over the years.

“She had a lot of compassion for everybody,” Peppas said from her home in Florida. “She did a lot of letter-writing to support people who had problems. She was a good shoulder.”

“The movie is second place so far as we are concerned,” she told The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1992. “Being accepted by Cooperstown was the greatest thing that happened to any of us.” [Los Angeles Times].

Women’s Baseball League Hero Dies, or Me and Title IX

A lot of us grew up in the era before Title IX, which resulted in equal sports programs for girls. I was a tomboy and loved sports. I remember the angst I felt at having no outlet for my athletic energy . . . Dottie Collins, one of the most esteemed members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1943-1954), died August 12 at age 84. [The Boomer Chronicles].

Dottie Collins: Pitcher in pro baseball league in ’40s

Dottie Collins, a pitcher with the Fort Wayne Daisies in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s, has died at 84. [Chicago Sun Times].

NOTE: The Chicago Sun Times has also picked up my two earlier posts, “Dottie Collins Honorary Golf Outing” and “Dottie Wiltse Collins: 1923-2008”, through syndication.

Recapping Dottie Collins Coverage

Dottie CollinsAs reported yesterday, AAGPBL great and NEIBA Hall of Famer, Dottie Collins passed away.

Since then, several outlets have reported the news ans many have produced wonderful recaps of her life and career.

A wonderful tribute to a treasure of a woman. Rather than produce my own, I’ve provided excerpts and links to the full coverage.

Collins made sure we’ll never forget legacy:

No one was more willing to do than Collins. No one was more cheerful or accommodating, more patient, more forgiving of those whose awareness of the AAGPBL was informed only by Hollywood, in the guise of the 1992 release “A League of Their Own.”

Dottie became Dottie-From-The-Movie once that hit the screen, even though she wasn’t. But what the hey. If it helped America reclaim a piece of its athletic heritage it had somehow forgotten, you could call her Santa Claus if you wanted to. (Ben Smith – Journal Gazette)

For Love of The Game: ’40s baseball ace was ambassador for girls league:

“She supported so many things in our league,” remembers Isabel Alvarez, who was recruited out of Cuba to pitch in the AAGPBL and had two separate stints with the Daisies. “The organizing she did. If it was for the league, she was right there all the time.”(Ben Smith – Journal Gazette)

Sports pioneer Dottie Collins dead at 84:

“Well into her retirement, Collins continued to promote the AAGPBL, providing interviews, speaking at schools, running a Web site and publishing a newsletter. She also served on the board of the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

That year Collins was 16th in The News-Sentinel’s rankings of northeast Indiana’s 50 greatest athletes of the 20th century. She was the fourth-highest ranked woman.”(Blake Sebring – The News-Sentinel)

Fmr. FW Daisy passes away:

“In 1981, Dottie helped to organize the first exhibition game for former players which renewed interest in the league. Her determined efforts resulted in the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League Players Association and the movie “A League of Their Own.” She was instrumental in getting the league recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and had the privilege of opening the first Women in Baseball Display in Cooperstown. “(Wane-TV)

WANE also has a great video segment.

See Also:

Dottie Wiltse Collins: 1923-2008

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we report All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) great and Northeast Indiana Baseball Assocaiton (NEIBA) Hall of Famer, Dottie Wiltse Collins has passed away. I’ll post more information as it becomes available.

Rest in peace Dottie. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

See Also: Dottie Collins Honorary Golf Outing | DOTTIE COLLINS: A Great All-American Pitcher During the Forties

UPDATE: 5:28PM
More Coverage at:

Service is 10:00 a.m. Saturday at D.O. McComb & Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave. Rev. Robert Petty officiating. Calling 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Memorials to All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – Reunion Support Fund or Allen County Alzheimer’s Association.

UPDATE: 9:35PM
More Coverage at:

Dottie Collins Honorary Golf Outing

Isabel Alvarez kindly sent me some information about the Dottie Collins Honorary Golf Outing the other day. The outing will take place on Friday, August 15th at Brookwood Golf Course and proceeds from the event go to the benefit of the Alzheimer’s Association and is being presented by Regency Place of Fort Wayne and Meadowvale Health and Rehab.

The event brochure and registration form is available here.

Dottie Wiltse Collins

When Women Played HardballDottie was born on September 23, 1923 and became a star softball player in the late 30’s. With the men off fighting WWII, Chicago Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley developed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) to ensure that baseball would continue in the states. Dottie joined the league and became a 20 game winner as a right-handed pitcher in 4 out the 6 seasons she played.

She was marked as one of the league’s premier pitchers with a .608 winning percentage and lifetime 1.83 ERA. Dottie played for Minneapolis for one season and then came to Fort Wayne to play the remainder of her career for the Fort Wayne Daisies.

Dottie also accomplished a lot off the mound as well. Her husband, Harvey, taught her how to golf. She was the Fort Wayne City Champ in 1971 and was runner – up five other times. She helped organize youth golf and bowling leagues at the Elks Country Club. In 1988, she helped organize a reunion in Cooperstown that led to the movie “A League of Their Own”.

In 1999, Dottie was inducted into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association (NEIBA) Hall of Fame. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 5 years ago. Dottie was quoted in the book, Dottie Wiltse Collins: Strikeout Queen of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League as saying her favorite memory of the league was:

“the people we met, including the fans, and the lifelong friendships that were created.”

Alzheimer’s Association

Our Mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Allen County
Amanda DeLong
260.241.6188 phone; 260.486.5866 fax

Wells County
Kali Giggy
260.224.1447 phone; 260.824.4689 fax

UPDATE: Blake Sebring has a nice piece on the outing in the August 8th News-Sentinel.