Phyllis Wise (Baker)
Phyllis Wise Seasonal Pitching Records
Phyllis Wise Seasonal Batting Record
Phyllis was an accomplished athlete as a youngster. She especially enjoyed playing sandlot baseball, usually in the family yard next to the house at the corner. According to Phyllis, there was never a parental complaint about the occasional broken window or the every-present noises.
Her brother Bud was with a friend one evening in 1952, watching the Battle Creek Belles All- American Girls Professional Baseball Team play in Battle Creek while Sid announced the game. Bud went right home to sister Phyllis and told her she was good enough to play pro ball and that she needed to go over for a tryout.
Phyllis did just that, and at the age of 15 became one of the youngest players ever in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, She became a pitcher for the Battle Creek Belles during the 1952 season. That first year, she was throwing a lot of batting practice. In 1953, the franchise moved to Muskegon where Phyllis had one of her most memorable victories. She pitched into the 11th inning, and then won the game with a hit. Her parents were in the stands, which made it a very special moment. She also threw a one hitter against Fort Wayne that season. At the end of the 1953 season, the team folded. Phyllis recalled "They put our names in a hat and split us up.” She then went to play with the South Bend Blue Sox in the 1954 season. At the end of the season, she was moved to the Fort Wayne Daisies for that year's playoffs. She recalled "getting a couple of relief jobs" during the playoffs,
The league folded after the 1954 season. Phyllis had maintained her studies at Marshall High School and graduated from there with the Class of 1955. The inscription in her yearbook included her nickname "'Toots'" and also "Take Me Out To 'the Ball Game!” Phyllis also played guard on the Kalamazoo Lassies basketball teams for four years.
Phyllis worked for a short time in Battle Creek. In the late fall of 1955, she went to work at an Insurance Company Regional Office in Marshall and retired from there in 1978.
On October 7, 1961, she was married to another baseball player, Clifton R. "Cliff" Wise. The couple lived most of their lives together on their farm.
Phyllis continued to play fast pitch softball with a Kalamazoo team and various Marshall area teams for many years, usually pitching, but sometimes playing first or third base. At one point, husband Cliff was her coach, and several of her nieces were her teammates. Phyllis helped coach Marshall High School Girl Redskin Softball teams for 13 years with husband Cliff. She was Cliff's mentor and most capable assistant, giving knowledgeable advice to the girls.
Phyllis frequently was hostess to end of season team gatherings at the Wise farm in Marengo Township. She also coached women's teams in Rice Creek league play. Phyllis liked to fish in her spare time with husband Cliff and family. Trout fishing was a favorite. The couple built a cabin near Lewiston where they enjoyed precious time together with each other, family, and friends. Phyllis also was a devoted deer hunter, especially enjoying hunting with nephew Briars and brother Larry, while husband Cliff coached their efforts! Phyllis was famous for her baking, especially cookies.
In 1988, Phyllis was recognized by the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York as a member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The women players were remembered in a movie, "A League Of Their Own,” which premiered in July 1992.