Ruth Lessing Seasonal Batting Record
Ruth Elizabeth Lessing, a high school standout and a four-time All-Star on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II, died October 26, 2000. She was 75.
The women recruited for the league were all-American or girl- next-door types but with a bonus: They were good athletes. Lessing, a standout athlete at Jefferson high School, with blonde good looks, was spotted in the early 1940’s by a scout while playing for the Alamo Jewelry Co. baseball team at San Pedro Park, said her sister, Mary Carson.
“She was still in high school and too young, so she didn’t join the league until she graduated,” said Carson. Lessing and Alva Jo Moore, both of San Antonio, along with Houston's Marie "Red" Mahoney were the only three Texans recruited for the wartime league.
Lessing was just 18 when she left San Antonio to join the Minneapolis Millerettes in 1944. “That was the first time that I had even been out of Texas,” Lessing said in a 1987 Interview with the San Antonio Express-News. “It was really exciting. To get paid for playing ball was like a dream for me.”
One year she was fined $100 for hitting an umpire after he made a call she didn’t like. A collection taken up by fans netted more than $2000. She paid the fine and gave the rest of the money to charity. Lessing said she was not proud of what she had done and wrote the umpire a letter of apology. The two later became close friends.
The Millerettes became the Grand Rapids Chicks in 1945 and that's where Lessing played her remaining four years in the League. The San Antonian was still with the Chicks when the team won the pennant in 1947. She left the team in 1949 and returned home, where she took a job at Kelly AFB.
In 1991, Lessing was hired as a technical adviser for “A League of Their Own” and appeared in the movie with other former players. “She had a lot of fun with the movie, and Madonna invited her to her birthday party,” Carson said.
In August 2000, Carson accompanied her sister to a Milwaukee reunion of All-American Girls Professional Baseball League veterans. Carson said Lessing had a lot of fun, signing baseball cards and speaking with fans.