Card: 2002 Fritsch AAGPBL #419
Karen was a superb athlete. She led her team to two consecutive state softball championships. She was a champion skier, played in the NCAA lacrosse tournament, and qualified for the NCAA men’s skiing championships, but couldn’t compete because of her gender. She played in the premier women’s baseball league, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. However, her greatest achievements came not on the playing field, but as an educator, administrator, and organizer.
Karen Violetta was born in Negaunee, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in 1934. Karen was one of the founders of the AAGPBL Players Association. At one time she was an officer in the association.
Perhaps Karen’s greatest achievement in sports was organizing and administering the U.S. Olympics Training Center at Northern Marquette University in 1985. The Center operated in cooperation with other centers at Colorado Springs and Lake Placid and provided athletes, coaches, and the Olympic movement training, research, sports medicine, and the opportunity for educational advancement. About 14,000 athletes trained at the center from 1985 to 1992.
Karen served as a technical advisor on the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. She helped test different actresses for skills needed to play the sport; advised movie people on the types of uniforms the players wore and some of the baseball terms and language used at the time; and showed some of the actresses with limited baseball backgrounds how to throw and catch the ball. Karen said a lot of her advice was not followed.
Karen is part of the Women in Pro Baseball Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Karen’s baseball cards at TCDB
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