In 1949 nine women of the Arthur Murray Girls baseball team took the field against the all-male squad from the Patchogue Athletics. By that year, the Murrays had been together as a semi-pro outfit for some time. Formed out of the sandlots and playgrounds of Queens, they grew under the tutelage of New York Times sportswriter Mike Strauss to become the nucleus of a league that, by the late 1940s, became the American Girls Baseball Conference.
On today’s episode, historian and Suffolk County Community College librarian Fabio Montella presents his research into the Murrays, their game with Patchogue, and their full, storied history. Although based out of Cedarhurst in Nassau County, the women traveled a loop that saw them playing against the likes of the Glen Cove Clovers, the Perth Amboy Cardinalettes, and the Stamford Nutmegs. Fabio also introduces us to Gloria Del Percio, the last living member of the Arthur Murray Girls.
The story of 20th century women’s baseball has been popularized by the movie A League of Their Own but women had their own leagues all across the country. The Murray Girls encapsulate that story at the local level, both as a team and as individual women who loved to play the game.
You can listen to this podcast here.
The Long Island History Project is an independent podcast featuring stories and interviews with people passionate about Long Island history. It is hosted by academic librarian Chris Kretz.
For a full list of New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.