She clearly played baseball because she loved it, and not because she thought anything would come of it.
But in the 1950s, Annie Gosbee of Essex did play baseball, as one of only two women (the other Avis Murray, of Gloucester) for the junior league. At the time, women weren’t allowed to play organized baseball, but both were recognized talents. Both Avis and Gosbee were invited to try out for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) team. Annie, after two attempts, made the roster and went onto have a wonderful career as an infielder. She played the last two seasons of the All American League with two different clubs and was a member of the 1953 AAGPBL championship team.
It’s an extraordinary story, not just in sports but as a general lesson to follow what you love, and not pay too much attention to what others give you permission to do.
And it is for that reason that the newly renovated baseball field on Martin Street behind Town Hall, currently Memorial Field will be rededicated on September 12 to be called “Annie Gosbee Field.”
“We all know the movie, ‘A League of Their Own’,” said David Ray, “Our Annie from Essex was one of those girls.”
As a child in Essex, Gosbee was interested in baseball and enjoyed catching for her brother Billy. They would practice regularly after school and whenever school was not in session. She would also play sandlot ball with local boys after school. In school, Gosbee played other sports, including basketball. As a student of the Rufus Choate Elementary School in Essex, she played for the school baseball team and was the only girl on it. She was also on the rifle team with Murray. She graduated from Gloucester High School, and after she died in 1976 she was inducted her into its Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1988, Annie Gosbee became part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display honoring the AAGPBL at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
Memorial Field was renovated last year after a campaign led by local residents and baseball enthusiasts in Essex and Manchester, and the home field for the Manchester Essex Mariner’s amateur baseball team in the Intertown Twilight League, the longest running amateur league in the United States. For the rededication, a bronze plaque will be unveiled in Gosbee’s name has been made by the artist that created the Ted Williams plaque in Boston. A group of young girls playing an exhibition game with T’s honoring Annie, food, and plans for speakers such as Rob Bradford of WEEI. State Sen. Bruce Tarr is also expected.
The dedication and celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept 12 at the soon-to-be-named Annie Gosbee Field on Martin Street.