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Mary Lou Studnicka

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Name  Mary Studnicka

Mary Lou Studnicka Mary Lou Studnicka Female Professional Baseball Player Sighed
Died  November 21, 2014, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, United States

Mary Lou Studnicka [Brazauskas, Caden] (July 19, 1931 - November 21, 2014) was an overhand pitcher who played from 1951 through 1953 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Studnicka batted and threw right-handed. She was nicknamed "ML".

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Early life

Studnicka was born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a suburb southwest of Chicago. She was the only girl of eight children into the family of John and Marie Studnička [stood'-nicz-kuh], of Slovak ancestry. At early age, she moved with her family to a farm in Palos Park, Illinois. She was interested in participing in baseball, thanks to her brothers, and she was never too young to follow in their footsteps.

While playing in a Chicago park with the boys teams, Studnicka meet a coach that developed players for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. After that, she spent six years in the Chicago farm club until receiving a letter and a contract telling her to report for spring training and the salary she would be getting. She returned the contract signed and attended the training camp.

At the age of 19, Studnicka joined the Grand Rapids Chicks for the 1951 season, as part of a pitching rotation that included Mildred Earp, Earlene Risinger and Connie Wisniewski. The great ballplayer Rogers Hornsby encouraged me when I attended one of his baseball schools. I worked hard at learning the game because he believed I could do it, she recalled in an interview.

AAGPBL career

In her rookie season, Studnicka won her first twelve starts before losing her first game. She finished with a 15-5 mark in 23 appearances, compiling a .750 winning percentage and 72 strikeouts. Grand Rapids reached the playoffs, but lost the first round to the Rockford Peaches. In 1953 she dropped to 11-12, while the Chicks advanced to the finals despite a losing season (50-60), only to be defeated by the South Bend Blue Sox and Jean Faut, who won Game 3 and decisive Game 5.

Studnicka went 12-13 in 1953, her last season in the league, and the Chicks enjoyed another trip to the playoffs.

First round

The Grand Rapids Chicks, with Woody English at the helm, faced their nemesis Rockford Peaches in the first round of the playoffs in a best-of-three series.

In Game 1, Rockford scored early and defeated the visiting Chicks, 9–2, to win the opener. The Peaches lined 13 hits off Grand Rapids starter Eleanor Moore. Studnicka came from the bullpen for long relief in a lost cause.

The action shifted to Grand Rapids home ballpark for Game 2, and Earlene Risinger silenced the Peaches' bats to just two measly hits en route to a complete game, 2–0 shutout.

In Game 3, Grand Rapids starter Dorothy Mueller pitched well enough to beat Rockford, 4–3, and the Chicks advanced to the Championship Series to face the Kalamazoo Lassies, who defeated the Fort Wayne Daisies in the other first round series games.

Championship Series

In the final series, The Grand Rapids Chicks swept the Kalamazoo Lassies in the best of three game set, by the scores of 5–2 and 4–1.

In Game 1, Studnicka started for Grand Rapids and allowed only two runs in eight innings of work. With the score tied 2–2 going into the fourth inning, the Chicks scored three runs off Lassies’ pitcher Gloria Cordes. A tie-breaking sacrifice fly by Alma Ziegler scored Dolores Moore, and another RBI sacrifice fly Inez Voyce put the Chicks up 4–2. A RBI single by Joyce Ricketts extended the lead to 5–2. When the Lassies first two batters reached base in the final inning, manager English promptly brought in reliever Eleanor Moore, who retired the next three batters in order. She struck out Isabel Alvarez for the first out, retired Dorothy Schroeder with a pop fly to shortstop Ziegler, and beat June Peppas with a sharp grounder to second basewoman Dolores Moore who threw to Voyce at first base for the final out of the game. Studnicka was the winning pitcher and Cordes the loser, while Moore earned the save.

In Kalamazoo, with cold weather around 40 degrees and windy, both teams’ managers agreed to play the Game 2 in just seven innings. Grand Rapids starter Risinger dominated the Lassies, 4–1, aided by a two-run double in the sixth inning by Ricketts. Doris Sams lined a home run for the Lassies only run.

Life after baseball

Following her baseball career, Studnicka married and had three daughters. She worked for a Chicago bank and began with the Chicago Police Department in 1962 as a fingerprint technician. When her husband died she married for the second time and moved to Arkansas, but widowed again after 31 years with that partner. Throughout her life, Studnicka has been active in bowling, softball and golf. She also embroiders quilts and is a hospital and hospice volunteer. A grandmother of seven, she is currently living in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

References

Mary Lou Studnicka Wikipedia


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