Friday, May 11, 2018

Out of the Park

“This is not what a nice Jewish girl should be doing,” is a phrase that Thelma (Tiby) Eisen probably heard a lot when she was a young girl. Eisen was a passionate athlete with a plethora of natural talent. Her passion for sports was an interest that her traditional family did not understand but, presumably, came to accept since Tiby Eisen’s career began with semi-professional softball when she was only 14 years old.  At 18, after graduating high school, she was part of a short-lived Los Angeles professional football team. (It was banned by the city council.)

Eisen’s big break came with the creation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) in 1943. Since the League originated in the Midwest, it wasn’t until the 1944 season that Eisen was able to try out (successfully) for the League. Her first team was the Milwaukee Chicks. In 1946, she joined the Peoria Redwings, and earned All Star status ,playing for them before serving briefly as the team captain.  And although there were several other women in the League, Eisen was the only one to achieve All-Star status.

After retirement, Eisen played softball professionally until 1957. Later in her life, Eisen helped revive the memory of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League after she was elected president. In that capacity, she helped establish an exhibit on women’s baseball at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Tiby Eisen passed away on her 92nd birthday, May 11, 2014.



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