762 wins, 88 losses, 162 no hitters, 45 perfect games, and 7,000 strikeouts – Bertha Tickey was a very special softball player. Most of her records still stand. And she taught Lana Turner to swing a bat for a movie role, and struck out Ted Williams.
Softball was invented in 1887, and played indoors with a broomstick and boxing glove. Fast pitch as we know it dates to the early 1900s when factories formed teams, men’s and women’s, to keep workers in shape. After the sport was seen at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, people began to come to games to cheer for their co-workers. And for the first time women athletes were taken seriously. The sport was the focus of their lives. There were leagues all over the country, and the tournament at the end of the season crowned a national champion. They trained year round like professional athletes and in the 40s, 50s and 60s, the top women were celebrities.
This is a well written, very readable history of fast pitch softball, following the careers of several of the top women in the sport. I had no idea that the semi-pro sport had been so popular. That it had been something other than what we see in high school and college. The book is a must read for any softball fan, and anyone interested in the lives of mid-century women.
eGalley review Publication date 6.14.16