ROXBURY, NJ – Lois “Tommie” Barker, a lifelong Morris County resident who went on to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, was honored recently by the Ledgewood-based chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Barker, 93, of Chester, was presented with the DAR’s “Women in American History Award” in recognition of her contribution to professional baseball and continued enthusiasm for the sport, said Rosemary Haynes of the Roxbury-based DAR Ferro Monte Chapter.
Barker played professional baseball in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1950 for the Grand Rapids Chicks, according to the league player’s association. She played 32 games with the team, at third base and right field, and was contracted to play in 1951 but was couldn’t due to family commitments, the association said.
“The AAGPBL existed from 1943 until 1954,” said Haynes. “The league was formed during the United States’ service during World War II when baseball executives wanted to uphold public interest while the majority of men were overseas.”
Barker was on the Roxbury High School softball team. After high school, she continued playing the game, joining the Chester Farmerettes in 1947.
As a shortstop with the Farmerettes, Barker made a play that remains her favorite softball/baseball memory: an unassisted triple-play.
“There were no outs with runners on first and second,” Haynes said. “She was covering second base and caught a line drive for the first out. The runner on second had already left the base, so she stepped on the bag for the second out. The runner on first was heading towards second and she tagged her for the third out.”
Haynes noted that Barker is a part of Women in Baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s permanent exhibit honoring the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League players.
“Miss Barker is very sweet,” Haynes said. “I only met her for the first time when I spent the afternoon with her to present the Women in American History award. When the award was presented, she shed a few tears of appreciation. I personally felt it was endearing when she recalled the triple unassisted play as her fondest accomplishment. She relayed it like she was living it again.”