In this episode of “The Journey of My Mother’s Son” podcast, I sit down to talk with the secretary and official historian of the AAGPBL Players Association, Merrie Fidler.
Merrie is also a published author. She published the book, The Origins and History of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 2006. The book was originally her master’s thesis, and as she became more involved with the players association, several of the former players were so impressed with her work, that they convinced her to get it published. Merrie donates a large portion of the proceeds from her book to the players association.
She was of the amazing women that I was able to get to know while Sandy and I were attending the BFA Nationals at the Ripken Experience in Aberdeen, MD, which was sponsored by Baseball for All.
Her biography, as taken from her author website, merriefidler.com is as follows:
Born at the end of October 1943, a month and a half after the All-American Girls Baseball League’s first season of play, Merrie Fidler grew up near Redding, California. She was raised in a sports-minded family and participated in interscholastic and intercollegiate volleyball, basketball and softball from junior high through her college under-graduate years.
At age 15 she joined the Redding Comets, the city women’s softball team. For four summers she played left field, catcher, or third base for the Comets. After completing an undergraduate major in physical education and obtaining a teaching credential from Sacramento State University in Sacramento, California, Merrie was hired, in the fall of 1971, as an Assistant Intramural Sports Director at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was in UMass’s Sports Studies master’s degree program where Merrie discovered, researched, and completed her master’s thesis entitled The Development and Decline of the All-American Girls Baseball League, 1943-1954. The thesis was largely based on documents obtained from league owner Arthur E. Meyerhoff and South Bend team president Harold T. Dailey.
Before completing her thesis in 1976, Merrie worked as an Assistant Intramural Sports Director at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and attended Penn State University as a doctoral candidate in Sport History. After a year at Penn State, Merrie returned to the Redding, California area where she embarked on a 27-year teaching and coaching career for the Anderson Union High School District.
Following her retirement at the end of the 2003 school year, Merrie attended her first AAGPBL reunion since the opening of the “Women in Baseball” exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in November 1988. It was there that she was encouraged by former players to publish her master’s thesis. During 2003-2005, Merrie obtained additional information about the league from numerous player interviews and Players’ Association Newsletters and Board Meeting Minutes.
Click on either of the links below to listen to the conversation.