Nominated by Nancy Noble
Anne Meyer Petrovic was born in Aurora, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. She
grew up surrounded by sports and learned baseball from her five older brothers.
Ann would practice with them every day after school either catching for
her brother Ronald or fielding for the family team. When she reached the age
of 12, the boys accepted her on their team as shortstop, and she continued to
play on local men's teams in the area, constantly improving her skills.
As World War II began, her father, Fred, became aware that Philip K.
Wrigley (Chicago Cubs owner) had created a women's baseball league to substitute
for the men's major league, so Ann took her first trip from her home
town of Aurora to Chicago to try out as a professional. Ann was offered a contract
with the Kenosha Comets for the league's second season starting in 1944.
At age 15, the 5'3" 100-pound high school freshman became the youngest
member to sign a contract with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball
Ann spent a total of six years in professional baseball, playing for several
teams as shortstop or second base, including the Queens and Chicago
Bluebirds owned by Charles Bidwell. By 1946 she became one of the league
stars, affectionately called "Pee Wee" by her fans. Even though she was small,
her lightening fast speed and strong arm enabled Ann to maintain a fielding
percentage of .943.
Although she played professionally during the summer months, Ann
would return to Aurora each winter to complete high school in 1947. That fall
she entered Nyack Bible College in Nyack, NY with a goal of achieving a physical
education degree. It was there she met her future husband, George Petrovic.
In 1950 they were married, at which time Ann retired from the league. In
1952 she moved with George to Ashland, Ohio. Ann supported George as he
started his professional photography studio, but the couple still found time to start a family, having two sons, George and David. Ann found an outlet for
her competitive sports nature by playing with an excellent YWCA Volleyball
Team for 25 years, bringing home several local and state trophies.
In 1978 the family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where the boys finished
their education, George continued his photography studio, and Ann worked
for the ABCO grocery chain for 15 years. While in Tucson, Ann received several
honors for her contribution to women's baseball, including being part of
the AAGPBL's inductance into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in
1988. In 2008 she was also recognized by her home town of Aurora, Indiana,
and inducted into the Aurora High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Although a professional baseball player, being a Hoosier, Ann also loves
basketball and was very excited to become a University of Arizona sports fan,
adopting the college basketball team as her local favorite. In 1997 she was
fortunate to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis,
where the University of Arizona Wildcats upset the Kentucky Wildcats to win
the national championship – an experience she will never forget.
Anne is a widow now but enjoys every baseball, football or basketball
game that comes to Tucson or can be seen on cable. While attending a Diamondbacks
game in Phoenix, she walked up to Jerry Colangelo, introduced
herself and started a lively conversation. Jerry was delighted to give Ann a big
hug of appreciation for her contribution to women's sports and also signed a
baseball! She continues to attend the AAGPBL player's yearly reunions, signing
autographs and encouraging young women to pursue their sports dreams.
Ann has never lost her love for sports and continues to apply the basics of
sportsmanship learned as a member of the AAGPBL to all phases of her life.