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The Racine Belles were one of the original teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League playing from 1943-1950 out of Racine, Wisconsinmarker. During that time they captured two championship titles, once in 1943, making them the first champions of the League, and again in 1946. The Belles were a formidable team with a strong core of players, many of whom stayed with the team for the duration of its stay in Racine. After the 1950 season however, the team’s owners disbanded the Belles when the team couldn’t support itself financially. In 1951, the team moved to Battle Creek, Michigan and became the Battle Creek Belles. In their final season, 1953, they played as the Muskegon Belles.

Although the 1992 movie A League of Their Own features the Racine Belles, all of the characters playing on the team were fictional. The Belles, however, did win the league championship in 1943, but over the Kenosha Comets, not the Rockford Peaches as the movie depicts.

Yearly Results

  • 1943: 62W - 49L (Playoff Champions)
  • 1944: 54W - 63L


  • 1945: 50W - 60L
  • 1946: 74W - 38L (League Champions and Playoff Champions)
  • 1947: 65W - 47L
  • 1948: 76W - 49L
  • 1949: 45W - 65L
  • 1950: 50W - 60L


Trivia

  • The Belles wore yellow dress uniforms with knee-high brown woolen socks and brown caps.




  • The Belle Panda was the team’s unofficial mascot.


  • In 1945 the team won the attendance trophy for having the largest audience on opening night, May 23rd, with 4,019 fans.


  • The Belles were the first team in the AAGPBL to sponsor a junior team. The Junior Belles were local high school girls who played on four teams, the Golds, the Greens, the Reds, and the Grays. Their coaches, uniforms, and equipment were provided by Western Publishing, the sponsor for the professional Belles.


Managers



  • Leo Murphy, 1945-1949


  • Norm Dieringer, 1950


Former players

  • Madeline "Maddy" English - Played third base with the Belles for her entire career, 1943-1950. When she learned that the Belles would be moved out of Racine and she wouldn't be able to play with many of her teammates anymore, she decided to leave the League, saying to interviewers “For me, the League is over.”


  • Sophie Kurys - Also known as "Flint Flash", Kurys played second base for the Racine Belles from 1943 to 1950, and with the Battle Creek Belles in 1952. She is the only player to steal over 200 bases in a single season. 80% of the time she got on base she stole at least one base. In 1946 she successfully stole 201 bases in 203 attempts.




Fastpitch

The name Racine Belles now refers to a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of girls' fastpitch softball in southeastern Wisconsin.

Sources


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