R.I.P. to catcher Terry Donahue, who spent four seasons playing in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She died on March 14th from Parkinson’s Disease. She was 93 years old. She played for the Peoria Redwings from 1946-49.
Donahue was born on August 22, 1925 in Melaval, Saskatchewan, Canada. She got her start in baseball at Melaval High School in Moose Jaw, according to a 1950 profile. She spent four years with the Moose Jaw Royals and was voted the outstanding player in the province in 1945. She started off as a infielder but was asked to catch in an emergency. After that, she was a catcher and a very good one, too. Thanks to that success, she was scouted by AAGPBL scout and former MLBer Bill Wambsganss and signed for the 1946 season. In her four years as a Redwing, Donahue hit for a .127 average with 50 RBIs and 67 runs scored. She also stole 44 bases, including 28 in 1946.
After her time in the AAGPBL, she starred for the Covington Belles softball team. Like many of the AAGPBL alumni, she enjoyed the long-overdue recognition that the league earned as a result of the movie “A League of Their Own.”
“If it weren’t for that movie, nobody would have ever known about us. It was just something we had done, was in the past, loved it, but was over with,” she told the Northwest Herald in 2003. “But that movie really brought it out.”
Donahue is survived by her partner of 71 years, Pat Henschel. Their story wasn’t exactly a secret — the AAGPBL Twitter account posted a lovely picture of them a couple of days ago. However, journalist Britni de la Creta wrote a wonderful article last year about the lesbian side of the league and the lengths that AAGPBL officials went through to hide it, deny it and/or get rid of it. I highly recommend it: “The Hidden Queer History Behind “A League of Their Own.”