Dolly Vanderlip [Ozburn] (born June 4, 1937) is a former pitcher who played from 1952 through 1954 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m), 140 lb., Vanderlip batted and threw right-handed. She was born in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dolly Vanderlip was one of the youngest players signed by the AAGPBL during its 12-year existence. At first, she attended a tryout for the league in 1950. She was 13 years old, by far one of the youngest girls in the training camp. She signed a contract with the Fort Wayne Daisies the next year, and debuted with the team on June 5, 1952, one day after her 15th birthday, under Jimmie Foxxmanagement.
“Lippy”, as her teammates nicknamed her, started her career as a solid relief pitcher before becoming a starter. In her rookie season, she pitched 10 games and went 0–4 with a 3.93 earned run average in 39 innings of work. She improved to a 2–2 record and a 2.88 ERA in 1953, appearing in 14 games while pitching 50 innings. Fort Wayne, with Bill Allington at the helm, won easily the league’s title, but lost to the Kalamazoo Lassies in the first round playoffs. She posted a 3.00 ERA in two playoff appearances, working two innings, but did not have a decision.
Her most productive season came in 1954 with the South Bend Blue Sox, when manager Karl Winsch turned her into a starter. In 19 starts, Vanderlip finished with an 11–6 record in a high-career 120 innings. Her 2.80 ERA was the second best in the league, being surpassed only by teammate Janet Rumsey, who finished with a 2.13 ERA. Vanderlip also finished fifth in winning percentage (.647), sixth in wins, and tied for third for the most shutouts 4. When the league was unable to continue in 1955, Dolly Vanderlip joined several other players selected by former Fort Wayne Daisies manager Bill Allington to play in the national touring team known as the All-Americans All-Stars.
The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, of A League of Their Own fame, marks its 75thanniversary on May 30, 2018, the date of the first game in 1943. Original players will be participating in interviews, events, appearances at the MLB All-Star FanFest, and throwing out first pitches, all leading up to a league reunion in September.
The story of the AAGPBL is in preliminary talks to become an Amazon Original Series!
The League is also launching a new annual tradition: National Women in Baseball Day. Every year on May 30th we will recognize the anniversary of the inaugural game in 1943, as well as celebrate ALL women (past and present) who were/are involved in baseball. National Women in Baseball Day is a social media driven event that encourages MLB, MiLB, Women’s baseball organizations, softball teams, and anyone who supports women in baseball to get a group photo together forming a “V”. The “V” formation pays homage to the shape the AAGPBL teams would take during the pre-game National Anthem to stand together for “victory”.
The AAGPBL was formed by Chicago Cubs owner and chewing gum mogul Philip K. Wrigley in response to the War Department’s plans to draft large numbers of men, including MLB players, for World War II during the summer of 1943. After rigorous tryouts, 60 women—some of them as young as 15—were signed to professional league contracts earning salaries of $45-$85 a week ($656-$1239 today). They were divided into 4 teams: the Kenosha (WI) Comets, Racine (WI) Belles, Rockford (IL) Peaches (of A League of Their Own fame), and the South Bend (IN) Blue Sox. 108 games were played during the regular season, and the team to win the most games was declared the pennant winner. The top two teams then competed in a series of play-off games for the League Championship. The Racine Belles won the 1943 season and became the first World Champions of the All-American Girls Baseball League.
Over its 12-year run, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League gave more than 600 women the opportunity to play professional baseball for the first time. The league disbanded in 1954, but it has stayed with the players for the rest of their lives. Marilyn Jenkins (age 83) says the AAGPBL was “a great opportunity to learn about baseball and ‘life’ from great female athletes,” and according to Lois Youngen, 83, “It helped me realize the true meaning of ‘team.’ We win or lose together.” Through A League of Their Own, the league’s story has become a part of American culture.
Today, the former players continue to push for greater strides and recognition in women’s baseball. In 2003, the sport was officially incorporated into the AAU and, in 2004, USA Baseball authorized the first official national women’s baseball team, which won the gold medal in the first Women’s Baseball World Cup against teams from around the world. The sport’s landscape is changing, and it all started 75 years ago with the 60 pioneering women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.