Did you watch the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own”? Many viewers, including me, learned about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) for the first time. The movie is loosely based on the AAGPBL and female players. Capable, dedicated and energetic women played baseball — talented athletes full of vim and vigor. And one player, in particular, stood out. And she was born and raised in Cincinnati.
“Kammie on First,” a biography for young readers, is about baseball’s Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek. Kammie is the nickname given to her by the league. Read the book to find out the interesting story behind her nickname. The AAGPBL started in 1943 and ended in 1954. In 1999, Sports Illustrated named Kammie as one of the 100 greatest female athletes of all time.
The baseball players were expected to follow the rule: “Look like women. Play like men.” And they attended mandatory charm school.
“Our skills were as good as the men’s,” Kammie informed John B. Holway, a baseball historian, for an article in Baseball Research Journal. “We just weren’t strong enough to compete with them.”
Kammie was offered a contract to play on a men’s team in Florida, but she declined. She surmised it was a publicity stunt to draw crowds.
Dorothy, born in 1925, died in 2010. And her sports life was exciting.
The book’s author is Michelle Houts, a writer from Ohio, and the publisher is Ohio University Press in Athens. Kammie is her fourth book for middle-grade readers. Houts added a timeline, glossary, notes and bibliography along with myriad nostalgic photographs of Kammie in this interesting and inspiring 91-page narrative with 10 chapters. Plenty of facts about the era are sprinkled throughout the pages.
Young readers, especially girls, will enjoy learning about a baseball heroine who wore a uniform dress during games. Boys will learn that girls play baseball, too.
Teachers relish introducing a student to an attention-grabbing nonfiction genre. And biographies give an account of a person’s life and achievements. Kammie made a notable contribution in women’s’ athletics.
The author’s admiration for Kammie is evident throughout, demonstrated by the depth of research interviews and the care taken to tell the story of a baseball star immersed in a man’s world during the 20th century.
When asked about Kammie, Pepper Davis, another female player, said, “She hit left-handed line drives and was a complete ballplayer — the Pete Rose of our league.”
Kammie, the Ohio native, was a baseball celebrity and is fondly remembered.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.