AAGPBL Interview - Gertie Alderfer
Gertie played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's touring teams in 1949 and 1950. She took the time to answer a few of our questions.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I grew up across the street from a playground and played for the team there. I was the only girl on the team. I played softball in highschool.
2) Describe your signing.
I had a tryout with about 200 girls in Allentown, PA. Nine of us made it. I went to Chicago for training after the night of my graduation in 1948.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played first base and caught. I played for the touring teams in 1949 and 1950. In 1949 I played for the Springfield Sallies and in 1950 I played for the Chicago Colleens. I was drafted by the Muskegon Lassies and was there for about a month and then went back on the tour. I was drafted by Kalamazoo in 1951, but didn't sign because my mom was sick and I stayed home with her.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Playing baseball and being paid for having fun was great. Also traveling to different cities and meeting a lot of different people. My teammates were the greatest.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
Being away from home and family. I was only 17 years old when I went to Chicago in 1949. It was my first time away from home.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Playing in Yankee Stadium in New York City and Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
I remember Doris Sams when I played against her in Muskegon. She struck me out four times!
8) Do you think the fans and press accepted you more as the years wore on? (Describe how it was when you started. Did increased exposure change some minds?)
We had good coverage in the cities we played in. Many good writeups. The fans and press treated us well. We had no trouble from either fans or the press. The exposure we got after "A League of Their Own" came out is just great.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
The Philadelphia Phillies 1949 and 1950 were my team. They still are. Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Del Ennis, Andy Seminick and Schoolboy Roe were my favorites.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I enjoy following baseball today but get disgusted with the big egos and the money they get.
11) Should women have their own pro league, should they play in the majors, or should we have both (a women's league and the chance for the best women players to play in the majors?)
I think women should have their own league. I believe up to a certain age women can compete with men. I know I could have played on my high school team. I don't think there is any woman that could compete at a major league level.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
It was a shame they couldn't make a go of it.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I began working in a factory in 1950. I retired in 1993. I married in 1955. My husband and I raised our three children and now have five grandchildren.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Follow your dream and don't let anyone tell you that you can't.15) Any other memories or comments?
We have a reunion every year and get together with a lot of old friends. It is one thing I look forward to. Cooperstown is doing a great job of keeping our legacy alive.
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