AAGPBL Interview - Ellen Ahrndt
Ellen Ahrndt grew up playing baseball in Wisconsin. She played in the AAGPBL in 1944. She shared some of her memories with us.
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I had two sisters that played and my brother was the manager. We were six girls and one boy on the farm, so that's what we did for recreation. I played in Racine and small towns around the area. Our state tournament was in Milwaukee.
2) Describe your signing.
It wasn't too impressive evidently - I remember signing a paper and that's it. I was at Wrigley Field in Chicago where I tried out.
3) What position(s) did you play? Which teams did you play for?
I played second base. I played for the South Bend Blue Sox for most of 1944, then I was let go.
4) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Making such good friends. Also playing in Racine and Milwaukee where I had family and friends to see.
5) What was the worst thing about playing ball?
Travelling on the buses.
6) What was the highlight of your career?
When we played in Racine, Dumore sponsored the team when I signed. They had a "Bake Ahrndt" night at the field.
7) Who were the best players you played with or faced? Comments?
My best friends who played on the team were Dotty Schroeder, Betsy Jochum, Jo Hageman and "Frenchy" Lucille McLean. They took me under their wing, although Dotty was much younger. We went to church together also.
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 only played in 1944 when it was new. The fans and press were very acceptable and very good to us.
9) Who were your favorite big league ballplayers during the era you played in?
10) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
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 pro league. I don't believe they should play in the majors. I'm not too liberated. I feel there is a place for women in sports, but not to compete with men. I believe a woman should be feminine.
12) How do you feel about the Silver Bullets?
I never saw them. I was married and raising a family. That was more important to me.
13) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended.
I married and am happily married - 58 years. I raised two sons who have families now. I have been asked to speak to school children and grownups in different clubs. Have been quite a few writeups on me since the movie "A League of Their Own."
14) What advice do you have for young women who want to become pro ballplayers?
Go to it - It's a great experience that you'll never forget.15) Any other memories or comments?
I didn't play a whole season, so I don't feel too important about all this. I loved playing ball, and I must say my best memories were when I played before the AAGPBL. I didn't play much as a pro and that was a disappointment.
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