The One Hit Wonder Women


In high school and college athletics, it’s much more common to see women and girls playing softball instead of baseball. However, there was once a competitive league in the Midwest called the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and the historical impacts of that league remain strong today.

The city of Milwaukee had its own team, deemed the Milwaukee Chicks, a fitting name in an all-female league with other teams like the Daisies, Lassies, Peaches and Sallies. The Milwaukee Chicks competed in the 1944 season of the league, and only that one season.

However, that one season resulted in a league championship.

The AAGPBL seasons had first and second halves, each about 60 games for each team. The Chicks were just 31-27 in the first half, leaving them in third place out of seven teams in the league. The Kenosha Comets won the first half of the season but could not win the second half, prompting a playoff series between the Comets and the Chicks.

The Chicks finished the second half with a 40-19 record before taking on the Comets. The victory in the playoff marks the end of the Milwaukee Chicks, who relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the remainder of the AAGPBL’s existence.

The lack of attention from the Milwaukee community is one of the reasons for the Chicks’ departure despite a famous coach. Max Carey, the head coach, was a hall of fame-level baseball player for 19 years in the big leagues from 1910-’29.

Some people in Milwaukee were not willing to pay the higher ticket prices to get into the Chicks’ games and opted to attend the American Association’s minor league Brewers games instead. The Brewers played in the same stadium as the Chicks.

Those willing to pay the admission price had the pleasure of seeing pitcher Connie Wisniewski, whose season with the Chicks included 23 wins and five complete games in the seven-game playoff series. That includes a 13-inning performance in the sixth game and a shutout in the seventh game.

Her numbers also speak to how talented she was as a pitcher, as that 1944 championship season isn’t even her best year.

She pitched 40 complete games and was never once removed from a game the whole year. She had a 0.96 earned-run average and was one of the AAGPBL all-star pitchers.

Looking back now, Milwaukee and the now-Major League Brewers are acknowledging the Chicks’ accomplishments. In Miller Park, there is a display that honors the Chicks and their championship season, and in the 2019 season, the Brewers are having a theme night celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Chicks. During the Pittsburgh game June 29, the Brewers will be giving away hats with the Chicks’ black and yellow M logo, as well as donating proceeds of ticket sales to the AAGBPL Players Association.