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Passings : Helen Earlene Risinger

Pitcher in pro baseball league

August 03, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Helen Earlene "Beans" Risinger, 81, who pitched seven seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, died Tuesday in Altus, Okla.

A native of Hess, Okla., Risinger became interested in the league when she read about team tryouts in the Oklahoman newspaper in the spring of 1947. That summer, she signed a contract to play for the Rockford Peaches but, according to the Oklahoman, got homesick on the train ride from Oklahoma City to Rockford, Ill., and ended up staying in Oklahoma City. A year later, she went to Springfield, Ill., where she played for the Springfield Sallies. She played for the Grand Rapids Chicks for the final six seasons of her professional career.

According to the Oklahoman, her best season was in 1953, when she won 15 games and lost 10 for the Chicks. The high point of her career came that year in the league championship game against the Kalamazoo Lassies. With two outs, the bases loaded and her team ahead by one run, Risinger struck out Doris "Sammye" Sams, who was a two-time league player of the year and had homered in her last at bat. The Chicks won, 4-3.

Years later, she served as a consultant for "A League of Their Own," the 1992 film based on the women's league.

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