Obit of the Day: A League She Owned
Doris “Sammye” Sams was a no-doubt-about star of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Ms. Sams who entered the league in 1946 would play for eight seasons on for the Muskegon and Kalamazoo (Michigan) Lassies. She was a dual threat both on the mound and in the batter’s box. She was elected to the All-Star team in six of eight seasons. She earned two Player of the Year awards in 1947 and 1949. In the former season she threw the third perfect game in AAGPBL history* for Muskegon. Ironically, her best season on the mound was 1948 when she won 18 games, had a 1.54 ERA and struck out 117 in 268 innings.
Ms. Sams hit over .300 in her final four seasons as player. And in 1952, she would lead the league in home runs, with twelve. She would retire one year later after hitting .314 in the 1953 season. (You can find her complete playing record here
At her peak, Ms. Sams earned $4000 per year between her playing contract and endorsements which included an appearance on the back cover of the 1948 Dell baseball guide. (The player on the front was some guy named Ted Williams.)
Ms. Sams, who had no immediate survivors, died at the age of 85 from complications due to Alzheimer’s.
Random note: Before turning to baseball, Ms. Sams was a marbles and badminton champion in Knoxville, Tennessee.
(Image of Doris Sams, circa 1946-1950, is courtesy of the Washington <i>Examiner</i>.)
* According to baseball-reference.com, five perfect games were thrown in the AAGPBL by four different women: Annabelle Lee, 1944; Carolyn Morris, 1945; Doris Sams, 1947; and Jean Faut, 1951 & 1953.