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Obituaries

Mildred Deegan, 82; Star Baseball Player

July 26, 2002|From Associated Press

Mildred "Millie" Deegan, who played 10 seasons with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, died of cancer Sunday in New Port Richey, Fla. She was 82.

Deegan, who was in the league from 1943 until 1952, spent six years pitching and playing second base for the Rockford Peaches, the team featured in the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own." She ended up with a .260 batting average.

Before switching to baseball, Deegan, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., earned a reputation as "the Babe Ruth of women's softball" for her hitting prowess. Once at the old Madison Square Garden in New York City, she hit a softball so far that even Ruth was impressed. He posed with her and squeezed the biceps on her right arm.

After the release of "A League of Their Own," Deegan told the St. Petersburg Times that the women playing in the league did have to go to charm school to become "All-American girls."

Deegan also recalled some low points during her playing days, including the 1946 championship game against the Racine Belles when she gave up the winning run.

After retiring from baseball, she joined a New Jersey softball team and remained as a coach for about 20 years. She moved to Florida in 1976.

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