July 7, 2012 11:05 AM
Women's baseball league players talk history, meet crowd
Seven women who played decades ago for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League signed autographs for a crowd of FanFest-goers Saturday afternoon.
There are fewer than 200 league players still alive from that era, the youngest in her late 70s and the oldest in her late 90s. Members of the league's association have been attending FanFest for about a decade now.
One of those players, Shirley Burkovich, has 10 years of FanFest experience under her belt. She was a utility player from 1949 to 1951. She was signing autographs for a crowd of more than 50 fans who formed a winding line to meet the players.
With Burkovich was Maybelle Blair, a pitcher in 1948.
"I enjoyed every cockeyed minute of it," she said of her time on the field. "It was so much fun. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Blair said she loved seeing all the children who come out each day to FanFest, especially the little girls, some of whom have thanked players like Burkovich and Blair for paving the way for women in sports.
Burkovich said that despite being seen today as a groundbreaking group in sports, the women didn't see challenges when they were on the diamond.
"We didn't realize it," she said. "We were just playing ball."