Local Woman Reflects on Her Baseball Career


This September FOX is set to premiere its new series, Pitch. It’s about a girl who becomes the first woman to play major league baseball. But western Wisconsin already has a pioneer in women’s baseball who calls the La Crosse area home. Dolly Vanderlip played in the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League in the early 1950s, which is the league profiled in the movie ‘A League Of Their Own.’ Vanderlip was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. Fox 25/48’s Erin O’Brien shares her story.

79-year-old dolly Vanderlip’s still got it… (Pitching) there you go.

Six decades after joining the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League. Dolly grew up in North Carolina playing ball with the boys in her neighborhood. Then she moved to Indiana at age 15 to pitch for the Fort Wayne Daisies.

The ladies were really nice to me, all of them were older than i was of course. The youngest one I think was 17.

Two years later, in 1954 she was traded to the South Bend Blue Sox and played for one season before the league ended.

I learned a lot in playing, I learned not to be thin skinned.

But she didn’t quit there. She and several other players from the league formed a traveling team that played local men’s teams across the Midwest. But dolly says, that didn’t mean the women were treated the same as the men during those years. We could not wear blue jeans, or shorts or anything. Our hair had to be shoulder length, and we had to wear makeup in public, we had to wear dresses in public, or skirts. She’s happy now that things have changed for female athletes. women’s sports has come a long way, and women have gotten a lot taller and a lot stronger and lot more interested and I’m very happy to see that.

Dolly now lives in Galesville and speaks at local schools about her experiences. She has two kids and two grand kids.

In La Crosse, Erin O’Brien, Fox 25/ 48 News at 9.

You can watch dolly in action as she throws out the first pitch at the La Crosse Loggers’ home game this Sunday evening at 5:05 pm. and be sure to stick around for FOX Pitch Night at the Ballpark… there will be batting and pitching clinics, prizes, fireworks and a special sneak peek at Fox’s new fall show, Pitch.

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