NO. 28


Dutchess of the diamond


Joanne Weaver dominated women's pro baseball for the Fort Wayne Daisies during the AAGPBL's final season.


When she was 14 years old, Joanne Weaver left home in Metropolis, Ill., to tag along with her sister Betty to try out for the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1950. The youngest of four children, Weaver was technically ineligible to play, but the Daisies didn't want to lose her so she hung out with the team all season.

Though she had no at-bats during the 1950 season, Weaver hit .276 in 48 games during the 1951 season with 45 hits. That was only a hint of her potential.

In 1952, Weaver won the first of three straight batting titles, hitting .344, beating out sister Betty's .331. The next year she hit .345 to win her second batting crown, but the next season was her best year, and perhaps the best year in the history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

By mid-August of the 1954 season, Weaver led the league in batting average, runs scored, base hits, total bases and stolen bases. Playing in 93 games, the 6-foot outfielder hit .429 with 29 home runs, 87 runs batted in, and had 79 stolen bases and 109 runs scored. It was the first and only time a woman in the AAGPBL hit more than .400 for a season. She was the league's Player of the Year in 1954.

Weaver's short but brilliant career ended when the league folded after the 1954 season. She had a .359 career batting average in 329 games with 174 stolen bases. When the league disbanded, she was only 18 years old. She toured with Allington's All Stars, which mostly played men's teams, in 1955 and then went to work in Fort Wayne.

She currently lives in Metropolis and, in 1999, was inducted into the Fort Wayne Baseball Hall of Fame along with pitcher Dottie Collins.


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