January 8, 2014 in City

Gov. Jay Inslee honors woman who played baseball during World War II

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jim Camden photo

Dorothy Roth, who played in the National Girls Baseball League in 1945, autographs a bat for Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

OLYMPIA – There is, in fact, no crying in baseball.

Or so Dorothy Roth, a real-life version of the female baseball players portrayed in the movie “A League of Their Own,” confirmed to Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday as he issued a proclamation honoring her.

Back in 1945, however, there was a bit of stigma attached to baseball for women, said Roth, 86, now a resident of an assisted living center in Marysville, Wash. She was recruited out of high school and was usually the youngest player on the field that summer. She didn’t save any of her old uniforms because at the time she was embarrassed to be known as a baseball player.

“Nice girls played tennis,” she said. Roth tried to hide her bat and glove as she walked past the courts. Baseball was for boys, but most of the boys had been drafted into military service for World War II and women were being recruited to play baseball to fill the void for baseball fans.

“I bet you never thought they’d make a movie about it,” Inslee said.

“No, and I never thought I’d meet a governor,” she replied.

She put her one year in the National Girls Baseball League to good use. She used the money she made in that 1945 season with the Parichy Bloomer Girls of Forest Park, Ill., for college and became a teacher. She taught for more than 30 years. 

She played in a Chicago-based league that was a competitor to the one featured in the 1992 movie. Regardless of the league, Tom Hanks’ character’s admonition to his players, that there’s no crying in baseball, was correct, she assured Inslee.

The Bloomer Girls did play the team featured in the movie, the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Baseball League, once, Roth said – and beat them.

Before signing the proclamation, Inslee said he hoped to enlist Roth in other activities that show how seniors contribute to their communities. She also received the Silver Spotlight award for her work as an athlete and an educator from the Washington Health Care Association and AARP. The groups plan to honor residents of assisted living or skilled nursing facilities each month in 2014.


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