In it's short 11 year run, the rules for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League changed quite a bit. The pitching rule, for example, changed three times.
Originally, pitchers threw under hand with a large ball, much like softball. Two and a half seasons in, they switched to sidearm pitching, with a smaller ball. By 1948, the pitching changed to over hand. While the size of the ball continued to decrease and the pitching distance increased over time, over hand pitching remained. In the 7 years of over hand pitching in the AAGPBL, there were only two perfect games pitched. Both were thrown by South Bend Blue Sox pitcher, Jean Faut.
Originally, the AAGPBL thought to capitalize on the softball craze. They pulled a lot of their early talent from already existing softball leagues. But, in an effort to streamline the game, and make it more appealing to MLB fans, they switched the pitching to make it resemble the already popular baseball game. The switch from underhand pitching to over hand pitching did not go as well as expected, however. Not every pitcher was able to make the change, and so they started transitioning outfielders who threw relatively hard to begin with into the pitchers position. Faut happened to be one of those players.
Faut grew up two blocks away from a practice field for a semi pro team, in East Greenville, Pennsylvania. She spent a lot of time hanging around the field, wishing she could play, and by the time she was 13, the players had relented and taught her how to pitch.
"I had more experience than most of the girls in the AAGPBL. I came into the league with a fastball, a sharp curve, screwball, drop and change - and a lot of deviations from these basic pitches."
|Jean Faut, far left. Manager Karl Winsch.|
Her 1952 season really shines. She had a 20-2 record with an incredible 0.93 ERA. She only walked 42 and allowed 111 hits in 184 innings pitched. She won the pitching triple crown that season, leading the league in ERA, strikeouts and tying the wins with Rose Gacioch.
Faut retired in 1953. Her then husband, Karl Winsch, was also the manager of the Blue Sox. There was a lot of dissension among the team. Players would not speak to the manager, and by default, would not speak to Faut either. Between raising a child, and the tension among the team, Faut thought it better to retire. She ended her career with a 1.23 ERA. The lowest in the leagues history. She also was the only pitcher in the league to throw two perfect games.
Faut was to pitching, what Dottie was to hitting. Phenomenal!
Don't forget to also check out: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: DOTTIE KAMENSHEK
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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