A League of Her Own: breaking glass ceilings with a baseball

In a league of her own

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - At nearly 90 years old, Anna Meyer is still constantly on the move.

If you saw her out and about in Tucson, you wouldn't believe the life story she has to tell.

"I love the game, period," Meyer said.

The game of baseball was an integral part of her life and took her places she never thought she’d go. It was also her connection to one of the more interesting parts of American history.

Meyer’s place in that history was something hard to swallow for many. Growing up, it was rare anyone believed what she had to say. Back when her son was a child, his classmates never believed him when he told them about her life.

“(He’d say) ‘my mother is a professional baseball player,” Meyer said. “They said ‘alright David, you’ll feel better later. There’s something wrong - you must be dreaming,’” Meyer explained.

Source: (Tucson News Now)
Source: (Tucson News Now)

In Anna’s world, baseball wasn’t just for the boys, but in the 1940s, it may as well have been.

"I always said there's a girls team out there somewhere and I'm going to be able to play," she said. "Those days it wasn't easy. I know my neighbor said ‘don't play with that Shorty Marsh -- she's a tomboy.’ Can you believe that? Don't play with somebody because she's an athlete."

As the youngest of nine, she often played ball with her five brothers in her small town of Aurora, Indiana.

"Every time they went out on the field, I went out with them,” she said.

That’s where she realized, she wanted to take it pro. She tried out for the All-American Girls Baseball Professional League. Her dad was unsure she’d make it.

His words still stick with her to this day.

"He said ‘you play like you did today, you'll be going home tomorrow,’" she explained.

To her and her dad's surprise, she slid into her new home with the Kenosha Comets.

Meyer said that day was one of the greatest moments of her life. She became the youngest member of the team at 15 years old.

All these years later, it still plays a big role in her life.

Source: (Tucson News Now)
Source: (Tucson News Now)

“It was just like family,” she said. “We lose a lot of them nowadays.”

She attends the league reunion every year to see who’s still around. She said it’s the highlight of her year.

What she didn't know, however, is how big of a difference this team would have on others. She said they were known as the pioneers of baseball.

"Women weren't supposed to play ball,” she said. “That's all I know. We were supposed to stay home.”

That disbelief was a common theme in her life, until 1992.

"People didn't believe that we even played ball until the movie came out," she said - talking about a League of their Own.

Source: (Tucson News Now)
Source: (Tucson News Now)

The movie is based on the All-Americans and quickly skyrocketed the players to stardom, years after they took the field.

"When the movie came out in ’92, I was working at Abco across the street,” she said. “All the people around town found out I was working and they come around asking for autographs and everything. I couldn’t do my job.”

The movie showcased the league for what it was to Meyer – a family learning to work together and be strong.

"You always put everything you have into it,” she said. “Whatever you do. One a pro, always a pro," she said.

Meyer said that is especially true when pushing through and overcoming adversity after life throws you a curve. It’s something she faced firsthand.

"They almost threw me out of my church, let me know if I was going to play ball, that's not the way to do it,” she said.

Those kinds of things women of today don't have to face when wanting to grab their gloves or run the bases.

"I was just born in the wrong time,” she said. “I could get a scholarship and go to the University of Arizona."

Anna is a bit too humble to know she was born at just the right time to make history.

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