SULLIVAN TWP. — The naming of Black River’s softball field is a tale of Cooperstown and cookie dough.
The ball diamond, which will officially be named “Dorothy Chapman Field” on May 5 before a game with Firelands, has quite a story behind it.
Sherry Scheck, whose daughter Bailey plays on the varsity softball team, posted the team’s cookie dough sale in hopes of raising funds for the squad.
Rick Chapman, one of five sons of Dorothy Chapman — she also has a daughter — responded with a donation and a story of his mother.
Dorothy’s son said he was a graduate of Black River and that his whole family was from the area, then went on to say he played with Doug Scheck, who is Sherry’s husband.
The late Dorothy Chapman was a Spencer Township resident, who was born in LaGrange. She played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1943-49. Chapman won championships for the Racine Bells (1943), Milwaukee Chicks (1944) and Muskegon Lassies (1947).
A statue of her likeness is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and she also provided part of the influence for the character Betty Horn, who was played by Tracy Reiner, in “A League of Their Own.”
The Schecks brought the idea of naming the field in Chapman’s honor to Black River athletic director Josh Calame and things took off from there.
“Sherry and Doug called me all excited and they came up with the idea to do this,” Calame said. “I thought it was a great idea, and so did everyone else. That’s how it got going.
“I’m a sports person as it is and love sports history, so reading her biography and looking over some of the stuff was incredible. I can’t believe something like this hasn’t been done for Black River before, but it’s really neat and I’m really excited for it.”
Chapman, who was married to Tom Maguire from 1945-47, also played under the name Dorothy Maguire. She had a career batting average of .194 and 185 RBIs.
Calame is planning a formal dedication that will include a biography reading with a few guest speakers.
The Pirates are planning to have a sign hang under the scoreboard in left field with a banner made to hang on the fences. Calame is toying with the idea of having a picture of Chapman with her sports accomplishments on the banner.
Calame says the art department will paint “Dorothy Chapman Field” on the back of the home team dugout and a plaque is believed to be in the works as well.
“I think anyone in this job would love to have the opportunity to do something like this and unearth it,” Calame said. “It’s something I love to be a part of it. It’s really exciting. I’m really enjoying planning it and really looking forward to the dedication.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.