B.A.T. Visits AAGPBL Alumnae
Twenty-five former players attended the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League reunion in Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2018. The League celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and many family members and fans supported the women at their reunion events. Michelle Fucich, Manager, and Katie Lentz, Administrator, for the Baseball Assistance Team also attended to share information about resources available to the players, particularly as former AAGPBL players with two or more years of service are eligible to receive B.A.T.'s assistance.
Players and supporters enjoyed the festivities throughout the week, including museum tours. Kansas City is home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which Fucich and Lentz toured with the AAGPBL. Museum President Bob Kendrick shared stories about baseball greats, including Satchel Paige and James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell. As an organization, B.A.T. is very familiar with the Negro Leagues as all former Negro Leagues players with at least two years of service are eligible for assistance from B.A.T.
Before presenting at their annual meeting, Fucich and Lentz met with former AAGPBL players at an evening reception. "The players are full of life and I enjoyed hearing stories from their playing days. I loved that they were so eager to sign their baseball cards and take pictures with us," said Lentz.
The youngest of the players is 83, and they all display a youthful spirit evidenced by their lively banter. "Most of their jokes involved teasing each other, much to the delight of the other players," Lentz noted.
Fucich and Lentz shared details about B.A.T.'s resources and the types of assistance available to the AAGPBL alumnae base. The players took great interest in the medical, financial and psychological help that B.A.T. can provide. Several players asked about resources on behalf of their friends who could not attend the reunion. "It is important to make all members of the Baseball Family aware of the mission of B.A.T., especially as we continue to grow as an organization that really cares about helping those in need," said Fucich. "It was both an honor and such a humbling experience to meet each of these women and hear about their playing experiences as well as how baseball has impacted their lives."