News Detail

18

Jul, 2016

Women's Pro Softball

A crack of the bat, a yellow ball sailing 250 feet over a wall.  Pork steak promotion nights.  Autograph sessions at shopping malls.  Ball clubs in the box scores one year, out entirely the next.  Just a decade ago, all were part of the International Women’s Professional Softball Association (WPS).  Women softball players were actually getting paid to play the game they loved. 

Many of today’s younger players don’t know there was such a league, while older players remember scant details, almost always beginning with smiles and changing to grimaces.  Pro softball was indeed a reality from 1976-79, but thatreality was at times more illusionary than actual.  In fact, there have been two women’s professional softball leagues in the last 40 years, the first being an attempt to entertain American during the trying times of World War II…. 

A press conference heralded the arrival of the new league – WPS – in January 1976 in Chicago.  Its founding was announced by tennis pro Billie Jean King,League Commissioner Dennis Murphy and the owner of the Chicago Ravensfranchise, Fred Huebner.  “We plan to broaden the horizons of this excitingsport even further by establishing professional teams throughout the world,”read Murphy’s statement in the league’s first promotional brochure.  “For the players we plan to offer an opportunity to play under the best possible conditions including many personal and professional benefits they do not now possess.” 

The league promised more than the “best possible conditions” and “personal and professional benefits.”  “With the advent of IWPS, the game is being takenout of the “back lot” and established as one of the most exciting innovations tohit the professional sports world in the last decade,” the league brochure read. Realizing the hopes and dreams of amateur athletes and professionalentrepreneurs may have appeared simple.  It wasn’t.  The finagling andbusiness maneuvering necessary to bring an amateur sport to pro statusevoked controversy that is still remembered today. To read the complete article, click here for more on Women's Pro Softball.

1979 World Series - Connecticut Falcons vs St. Louis Hummers

For those of you that know Vicky Schneider (one of the top hitting instructors in the St. Louis area), she played professional softball for the St. Louis Hummers.  One of our very own (Coach Mickey DeBold) also played professional softball for the St. Louis Hummers!

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