Doris Sams, Women’s Baseball Pioneer, Dies at 85

Doris Sams, a pioneering women’s baseball star who inspired the film “A League of Their Own,” died Thursday, June 23rd in Knoxville from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 85.

Sams, known as Sammy to her teammates and friends, was one of the leading players in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, founded in 1943 to keep interest in baseball alive when the majors were losing most of their players to military service in World War II.

A right-handed hitter and pitcher, Sams was selected five times to appear in the league’s All-Star game and was twice recognized as the league’s outstanding player.

Over the course of her 8-year pro career in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Sams played for two different teams — Michigan’s Muskegon Lassies and their successor franchise, the Kalamazoo Lassies — and held down a career batting average of .290, while smacking 22 homers and 286 RBIs.

As a pitcher, Doris Sams posted a 64–47 record with a 2.16 ERA and threw both a no-hitter and perfect game.

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