AAGPBL Interview - Phyllis Baker
Phyllis Baker signed as a pitcher at the age of 15. 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?
My brother watched the Battle Creek Belles play. He told me I could play with them. I went over and tried out. The manager was Guy Bush. I had only played sandlot ball until then.
2) Describe your signing.
I signed when the Belles signed a new manager, who lived in Marshall. I was 15.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I was a pitcher.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
I loved playing ball and couldn't believe I was getting paid.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
I was only 15 years old, so being away from my family was the worst.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Pitching against the Grand Rapids Chicks. In the 11th inning I hit in the winning run. My parents were there that night, which made it really special.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Jo Weaver who played for the Ft. Wayne Daisies. Jo could hit the ball farther than anybody I had ever seen.
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?)
I always thought the fans were great. I did think the press accepted us, but it was hard to compete with the men in the big leagues.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
My family was always for the Detroit Tigers. Al Kaline was my favorite.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I'm still a Detroit Tigers fan. Today they make the big bucks and I don't like the drugs. Anything that hurts baseball, I'm against it.
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?)
Women should have their own league. Men are stronger in every way.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I never got interested in them.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I graduated from high school. I married a special guy (for 43 years). I worked for State Farm for 23 years. I played fast-pitch softball until I was 48. I helped my husband coach Marshall High School varsity fast pitch softball for 12 years. I have a pacemaker. I am a cancer survivor.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
They should have ability, desire, and dedication. Always work hard.15) Any other memories or comments?
Playing pro ball was an experience I will always cherish.
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