Died: July 22, 2002 in New Port Richey, Fla.
Debut: 1943 | Pos: P/2B
Mildred “Millie” Deegan was a star of the women’s professional baseball for 10 seasons. She died on July 22, 2002 at the age of 82 following a two-year battle with cancer.
Deegan first entered competitive play as a softball player, but turned to baseball when the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was formed in 1943. She played in the league until 1952, just over two years before the league came to an end.
For six seasons, she pitched and played second base for the Rockford Peaches – the team made famous in “A League of Their Own.”
“When the movie first came out, I never got off the phone,” Deegan said in 1992 in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times. “To me it felt like being reincarnated. I felt like grabbing my duffel bag and going off to play.”
Before she joined the AAGPBL, she had become known as the “Babe Ruth of women’s softball.” She played a game in old Madison Square Garden in New York and hit a ball so far that even Ruth was impressed, her family said following her death. Ruth posed with her for a photo and squeezed her biceps.
After her baseball career ended, she joined a softball team in New Jersey and would serve as its coach for nearly 20 years. In 1976, she moved to Florida.
Source: Associated Press