AAGPBL Interview - Mary Butcher
Mary Butcher had a short career in the AAGPBL. 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 being interested in baseball. My father was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs. I started out at 14 as a short stop. Our team didn't have any pitchers, so my father insisted I learn how. He set it up. We practiced every evening. We lived on a farm in Indiana and I played for a team in Berne, Indiana. After that I pitched for the General Electric team in Decatur, Indiana.
2) Describe your signing.
I was 17 years old and was pitching for the General Electric team in Decatur, Indiana. A gentleman approached me and asked if I'd be interested in playing pro ball. I laughed and said sure. A few weeks later I received a letter from the AAGPBL. By then I was 18. Soon after that my father and I went to Chicago to meet with Max Carey. I think he was the president of the league then. I was then taken to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
Pitcher - Kenosha Comets and Grand Rapids Chicks.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
The excitement of going out on the field. Listening to the crowds cheer us on. Just being around the team was a great experience for me.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
The travel by train - it was not the best way to go and it was hard on everyone.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
The time I walked out on the mound. It was great. I pitched batting practice mostly as a rookie, and didn't get much playing time.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
I really don't remember.
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 were well accepted in most of the cities we played in. The crowds were very supportive of our league.
9) Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
I really didn't have a favorite player. I loved baseball, no matter who played.
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Yes I do, I'm still a Chicago Cubs fan, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's. I've been to several games in San Francisco and Oakland, but I've only seen the Cubs on TV. I feel the big league players are more into the money they're paid than the love of the game. I realize it is a hard life, they travel all over the country, but to me the love of the game is the most important.
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. I really don't think women can compete with big league baseball players now. I would really think they should start another pro women's league. It may take a while but I do believe people would soon take to it.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I really don't know too much about them, I do remember years ago reading about them.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
My career was short. I went into the league in the middle of the season. The next year I missed spring training due to surgery. My life after was not real good. I had gotten married, that didn't last long. I had a son, and had to go to work. I played ball one season with a team in Geneva, IN. Then I moved to a larger town, got a job, and married a wonderful man. We moved to Nevada in 1962. Then we settled in Carson City. I was 40 years old and decided to get back into playing ball. I pitched for a team here for a year and it was great. Then I took up bowling.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
My advice is if a young lady wants to be a pro ballplayer, do it. They must remember its a hard life you live out of a suitcase. You practice every day, you run, it is a very hard life, but if you love the game none of this will affect you. You want to be the best player you can be.
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