All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Slides into Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

March 28, 2007
The National Museum of American History enhances its sports collection with a donation by former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player Joyce Hill Westerman. Her donation includes her Peoria Redwing uniform, an autographed baseball and photographs.

The AAGPBL played its inaugural season in 1943. During World War II, the AAGPBL kept fans coming to stadiums across the United States as male players went into military service. After the war, men resumed their places on the field, but the women players kept their game alive for nearly a decade. The league ended its 12-year run in 1954.

Westerman was one of more than 600 athletes in the AAGPBL from 1945 through 1952. Batting left and throwing right, she played catcher, first base and outfield. In addition to the Peoria Redwings, Westerman played with multiple teams, including the Racine Belles and the South Bend Blue Sox, the 1952 league champions.

“During the trying times of World War II, the athletes of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League helped keep American spirits high,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. “Joyce Westerman is a pioneer in women’s sports, and I am pleased to have her objects in the museum’s collection.”

Westerman’s uniform and other artifacts join notable items in the museum’s sports collection, such as Roberto Clemente’s baseball uniform and Sonja Henie’s ice skates. The objects will be on view for approximately one month in the museum’s recent acquisition case of its “Treasures of American History” exhibition, which presents more than 150 objects from the museum’s vast and diverse collections at the National Air and Space Museum while its building is closed for renovation.

"Treasures of American History" closed April 13, 2008.  For information about the Museum's reopening, go to our renovation page.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations and will re-open in summer 2008. The public may visit the museum’s Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu or call (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5285 (TTY) for general Smithsonian information.