Shelley McCann, of Manlius, shows off a bat signed by several of the players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Manlius It was a league created to keep America’s pastime in the public eye during World War II. Today, Manlius resident Shelley McCann is passionate about doing the same for the women who turned double plays and rounded the bases in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).
McCann discussed the history of the AAGPBL with two-dozen attendees in the Manlius Library on Thursday, Nov. 17. She became a self-proclaimed groupie of the league after watching the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” which, McCann said, is a fairly accurate portrayal of life in a league that was quite popular for most of its 12-year (1943-54) run.
“I watched the movie a hundred times, then I actually saw that the players were in Cooperstown for an appearance and I had just missed them,” said McCann, a standout softball player growing up who had always yearned to play baseball. “I called up Jane Moffitt, a former player in New Jersey, and asked if many of the ladies were still around. She said, ‘Sure! We come to Cooperstown every Mother’s Day.’ I went in 2000, and the women have been a huge part of my life since.”
McCann is the board vice president for the league’s players association. She is also the editor of Touching Bases, an in-depth league newsletter that is published three times each year. The AAGPBL has a newly launched Website and a Facebook page.
“The women really are very energetic and a hoot. They are fun to be around, and will do anything for you, really,” McCann said. She recently attended a reunion with dozens of players and 650 fans in San Diego. “A lot of them don’t think that playing in the league was a big deal, but I know they really enjoy each other’s company now, and they share a bond that few people in the world can say they are a part of.”