Marilyn Jenkins spent 7 years as a batgirl in the AAGPBL and graduated to become a full-fledged catcher for the Grand Rapids Chicks during the league’s last 3 years, 1952 to 1954. After the league she went to college and worked in healthcare, as a paralegal, and in sales. For many years she organized and conducted estate sales in the Grand Rapids area.
Over its 12-year run, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League gave more than 600 women the opportunity to play professional baseball for the first time. The league disbanded in 1954, but it has stayed with the players for the rest of their lives. Marilyn Jenkins (age 83) says the AAGPBL was “a great opportunity to learn about baseball and ‘life’ from great female athletes,” and according to Lois Youngen, 83, “It helped me realize the true meaning of ‘team.’ We win or lose together.” Through A League of Their Own, the league’s story has become a part of American culture.
Today, the former players continue to push for greater strides and recognition in women’s baseball. In 2003, the sport was officially incorporated into the AAU and, in 2004, USA Baseball authorized the first official national women’s baseball team, which won the gold medal in the first Women’s Baseball World Cup against teams from around the world. The sport’s landscape is changing, and it all started 75 years ago with the 60 pioneering women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.