AAGPBL Interview - Joyce Hill
Joyce played for eight years in the AAGPBL. She gave her time for the following interview.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I started playing catch at the age of five with my uncle. There wasn't any competitive sports for girls in school but I did play in grade school at lunch and recess with the boys. I played very little team sports.
2) Describe your signing.
There were tryouts in Kenosha and Racine, WI in 1944. I tried out and out of about 40 girls only two of us were picked and sent to Wrigley Field in Chicago in 194. I made the cut and went on and played for eight years: 1945-1952.
3) What position(s) did you play?
I caught for six years and played first base my last two years.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
The traveling and meeting so many wonderful people. Also making so many friends with the ballplayers.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
I wasn't too happy with the uniforms. I grew up on a farm and thought they were not very modest and were especially hard on the thighs when sliding into bases.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
Winning the championship with the South Bend Blue Sox in 1952.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
I played with so many but Jean Faut was one of the best. She played thirdbase, was a super pitcher and an All Star with South Bend! I hated to hit against Dottie Wiltse. She had an unbelievable break on the ball.
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?)
Once the fans saw us play they were fans forever. People were very skeptical at first. We had some great fans, although we were heckled at times if we made a boo boo.
9) Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
The Cubs, Gabby Hartnett, Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Lou Boudreau
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
I was sometimes, but the games take too long. I also think they are way overpaid.
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 believe women should play against women. We have the same skills as men, but not the strength. I hope one day there is a pro league for women, We have some awesome women ball players in our country
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I didn't feel that they should play against men.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I was married in 1950. Ray and I had two daughters. They were both good ballplayers. I played in the city and county softball league with my youngest daughter into my 50's. Also coached about seven years. My husband and I built our own house. I worked in the postal system for 20 years, retiring in 1985. We have 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. They keep us busy with softball and swimming.
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Keep reaching for your dream and hopefully it will come true. It was my dream to play pro ball.15) Any other memories or comments?
In 1952 with the South Bend Blue Sox we won the championship. It was my last season. I had been married for two years and it was time to stay home.
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