This week as part of Women's History Month, we introduce you to some amazing women - today Dorothy Chapman, All-Star catcher of the AAGPBL.
According to the AAGPBL website - in a Biography submitted in July 2006 by Rick Chapman, son of Dorothy Maguire Chapman
Names: Dorothy McAlpin, married to Tom Maguire May 4,1941 and divorced 1947. Married George Chapman 1949. Thus her playing names: Dorothy "Mickey" Maguire Chapman.
Tom Maguire was reported killed in action when Mom played for the Chicks in June, 1944. Mom's mother called her before a game. Mom played the game and announced to the press after the game about what had happened. She then received a couple of letters from him in August from a hospital in Italy. He was not identified for that time and presumed dead. I have the news articles in a scrapbook about this.
Mom got her nickname in 1945 while with the Chicks. I have an article that identifies her as playing with the tenacity of Mickey Cochrane, catcher for the Detroit Tigers and Hall of Fame member. She was also identified in the paper as being the highest paid catcher in the league. No salary was mentioned though.
Date of birth: November 21, 1918 Place of birth: LaGrange, Ohio Teams: 1943 Racine Belles; 1944 Milwaukee Chicks; 1945 Grand Rapids Chicks; 1946, 47, 48, 49 Muskegon Lassies. Retired June 15, 1949. Favorite position: Catcher Favorite Manager: She loved them all, perhaps Max Cary was her most favorite. Favorite Chaperone: Not sure but I would think Helen Hanna Campbell. How she learned about the league: She was playing for the Erin Brew fast pitch team in Cleveland, Ohio. They were perennial champions and Mom was scouted and invited to the try outs in 1943. How she learned to play ball: She played with neighborhood boys. A tool shop in Elyria, Ohio made special arrangements to work around child labor work rules so she could play with them in 1934-36. Most memorable experience: She had so many, but the spring training trip to Havana, Cuba had to be the most memorable that she talked about.
Special records: None to speak of. She always played hurt and did not want to miss any games. She was a rough and tough catcher who held her ground to anyone who tried to score at home plate. She was one of the older girls in the league and had a lot of pull and influence.
Additional: She had 6 children ( 5 boys, 1 girl) with George Chapman. George, Richard, Terry, Lawrence, Deborah, and Robert.
Hobbies included training horses. She had a Champion Morgan Horse, Chico's Flame, that could only be trained and handled by her. Died: August 2, 1981
Before coming to the league Mickey played on two World Championship teams in 1936 and 1938 from Cleveland ,Ohio.
Author: Rick Chapman Contributed By: Rick Chapman Copyright: Rick Chapman
Chapman was inducted into the Ohio Hall of Fame in 2010. She is part of the Women ini Baseball tribute at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
A statue, named At Bat, was created by sculptor Stanley Bleifeld from a picture of Chapman and is located at Cooper Park in Cooperstown.