A new book, so new it bears a publication date two weeks from today, includes interviews with many people in baseball or connected with it in some way. All the people selected for interviews are Jewish because the author is interested in the relationship between American success stories and the values of American Jews.
Surprisingly, two women are among the persons interviewed, and that's because they are veterans of the All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League of the 1940s-50s, the women immortalized in the classic film, "A League of Their Own."
In their joint interviews for this book the two retired players, Tiby Eisen and Anita Foss, reveal something different from what the interviewer expected. Their responses to his question about the values they learned at home must have surprised him, for instead of declaring that their success was due to Jewish traits learned from their families, they revealed that part of their desire to succeed in baseball was their feminist views.
Eisen described a restrictive home life during which she observed many marriages with husbands doing all the talking while the wives would "sit quietly." She noticed also that "the men would sit around and make remarks about women." She "couldn't stand it" and "wanted to get away from that atmosphere," so she announced at 21 that she was going to move out because "I am all for women's rights. . . . No way am I going to be a second-class citizen."
Foss remarked, "I was all for women's rights. . . . I felt women were qualified to play. Perhaps I had a feeling of special responsibility to show the guys that women could do this, too. Certainly if women were qualified, they should deserve the right to display whatever they had."
People are classified as feminists if they believe that women deserve equal opportunities to "display" their abilities, no matter what the field. Tiby Eisen and Anita Foss are true feminists. It's attitudes like theirs that help women succeed in life, as they succeeded in the AAGPBL.