BOOK REVIEW: The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League By Anika Orrock
You say you saw the fine movie A League of Their Own and you know all about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. I would politely reply, not so fast! To get the full story of the forerunner of women’s professional sports in America I highly recommend you buy the beautiful new book titled, The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Anika Orrock.
Not only is Anika Orrock a talented writer, she is a fantastic artist as well. The book is illustrated on every page with her excellent artwork. Here’s an example of her special talent.
The book is a beautiful hardbound volume with a nice raised lettering cover with Anika’s artwork. The paper is heavy, which you would expect to find in a book with such great artwork. Like all fine volumes, the pages are sewn into signatures. This book is high quality throughout and will last for years.
The book starts off with a good foreword by Jean Afterman, the Assistant General Manager of the New York Yankees, the 2019 Baseball America Trailblazer of the Year. Jean pays well-deserved homage to the pioneering women that stepped onto the diamond during World War Two when most the young men, and many major league players, were fighting the war.
Anika then introduces the book in fine style. She beautifully describes her Bay Area roots, her great-grandfather’s baseball power hitting for a local team, her grandfather’s love of baseball as a syndicated cartoonist and writer, that I grew up reading, and her own love of our national pastime. Her writing skill is equal to her artistic skill … both of which are considerable!
The entire twelve year history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (henceforth referred to as AAGPBL) is covered in the author’s text and the ones that know it best, the women of the AAGPBL themselves.
Each page has multiple colorful amusing or meaningful excerpts from the many interviews Ms Orrock conducted with the women of the AAGPBL. Also, every page is illustrated with Anika’s beautiful artwork. Her style is uniquely hers, impressive and delightful. Here’s an example I particularly liked, maybe because I donned the ‘tools of ignorance’ when I played.
Because this is as much of an art book as well an important history of the birth of women’s professional sports in America, here’s another example I enjoyed.
The author writes with passion and her prose is very readable. All the important milestones of the AAGPBL are covered with accuracy.
The book ends with a section of historical photos from the AAGPBL. The photo I enjoyed the most was a player steaming into third base in the air sliding … in a skirt! Ouch! I can’t imagine playing baseball in shorts, let alone a skirt. These ladies had as much guts and tolerance for pain as any man. They played the game hard, as it should be played professionally. Here’s the page. Check out the Ty Cobb of women, Joyce Hill Westerman, in the lower left corner.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s an enjoyable journey through an important time in our country’s history when women answered the call during wartime and showed they had what it took to play hardball … not softball! The story is told beautifully and illustrated with some outstanding artwork!
The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is available everywhere books are sold. But, I recommend you go to anikaorrock.com and buy an autographed copy. You will thank me.