AAGPBL Interview - Eileen O'Brien
Eileen O'Brien was a player and later a chaperone in the AAGPBL.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I played in the Chicago League for ten years. Played all Summer long with my brothers.
2) Describe your signing.
It was 58 years ago. No big deal. I did not arrive until July. I had graduated from college in June of 1945 and had started teaching. Plus I had to be ready to leave playing with the AAGPBL by September 1. I recieved $75 a week. I was on the bench and it was boring. By August they needed a chaperone and I took the job with no regrets.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played shortstop and second base. They put me in the outfield. I played for the Muskegon Lassies for barely two months. Realize that I had so little playing time I could concentrate on teaching and getting a Master's degree during my Summers.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
The best thing is now. I just don't believe that a lot of us should be getting all the all the accolades.
5) What was the worst thing?
Traveling from town to town, living in other people's houses. Being away from home.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
The Hall of Fame.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
Most of the Chicago players who moved into the All American when our Chicago League disbanded.
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?)
To me when I was a teenager (15-18) the fans were really great. In Chicago when we began there were just bleachers, the field was not enclosed. Fans were much more friendly in small towns like Muskegon. We were always invited out - boat trips, barbecue, etc.
9. Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
I was a fan when I was 10-15. White Sox, I was a South Sider. The Cubs were the enemy. I go way back - Zeke Bonura, AL Simmons, Luke Appling. One of our coaches was infamous, having been one of the Black Sox.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I don't follow it. I prefer football (it's faster). Plus I'm a stock market addict.
11) Should women have their own pro league, should they play in the majors, or should we have both?
Women should not compete with men. I would like to see a women's pro league.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I have no idea who they were.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I taught Phys Ed for 16 years. Went on after I finished my first Masters in Education. I earned the second one in library science and administered a high school library for 27 years.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Go for it - keep in shape.
15) Any other comments or memories
Would I do it again? Yes! But now I would take care of myself physically. We just went out and played. Very little time to warm up or exercise properly. I worked in a playground until 8 and ran out in the field at 9.
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