Katie Horstman, AAGPL Honored at Reds Game

By: 
Bob Blindauer
Staff Writer

 

“Batter up! Hear that call! The time has come for one and all to play ball.

“We are the members of the All-American League. We come from cities near and far. We’ve got Canadians, Irishmen and Swedes. We’re all for one, We’re one for all. We’re All-Americans!

“Each girl stands, her head so proudly high, her motto ‘do or die.’ She’s not the one to use or need an alibi.

“Our chaperones are not too soft, they’re not too tough. Our managers are on the ball. We’ve got a president who really knows his stuff.

“We’re all for one, We’re one for all. We’re All-Americans!”
 

The music of the league song streamed out over the sound system at Great American Ball Park and seemed familiar if not readily namable.

Most people around these parts have seen “A League of Their Own.” Some even know that one of their own was part of the history behind that movie. That would be Minster’s own Katie Horstman.

It’s been 25 years since the movie came out and Horstman was a production consultant for it, and appears in the scene at the end of the film when the ladies get together at Cooperstown for their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

She was also on hand to throw out the first pitch just before the Reds took on the Chicago Cubs Thursday, August 24. She and 21 other former players of the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League were in Cincinnati August 24-27 for their reunion.

Talking about her experience in getting back in touch with some of her former fellow players and teammates, she said, “The game went by so fast. We were busy talking to each other, ‘Remember that, remember that?’”

Horstman and her  fellow AAGPBL players she refers to as “Oldie Goldies” were honored at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on this wonderful evening, which the Reds capped off with a come-from-behind victory.

Horstman began her professional baseball career  back in 1951 as a mere 16-year-old. Baseball now remembers what she and about 600 other women accomplished in helping the war effort and beyond. Horstman played in the 15-team league from 1951 to 1954, mostly for the Fort Wayne Daisies.

According to Kathy Sowers of the reunion committee, “Today there are less than 100 of the original 600 AAGPBL players remaining and they are all in their 80s and 90s,” Recalling their place in women’s as well as baseball history, she stated, “In 1943, women continued breaking barriers in sports when the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was formed to keep baseball alive when many Major League players were fighting in World War II. As a result, the AAGPBL was the first professionally organized team sport for women in the United States. Between 1943 and 1954, the AAGPBL was comprised of nearly 600 players from the United States, Canada and Cuba and paved the way for women in sports and to new roles for women in contemporary American society.”

The women of the AAGPBL were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. Penny Marshall created “A League of Their Own” in 1992 to recount their story.  A permanent “Women in Baseball” wing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was created in honor to the AAGPBL in 2003.

As for preparing to throw out the first pitch, she noted she practiced “throwing rotten tomatoes” in her backyard.

As happy as she was to be reunited with the other ladies, Katie was also pleased to catch up to a former assistant coach from Miami University. “Seeing him again was a highlight of the night.”

Horstman was also quick to give credit to local business donors  who helped make the reunion possible. They included Globus Printing, Bern-hold Insurance, Minster Bank and Minster Dental Care.
 

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