On February 8th, friends from far and near turned out to celebrate the 100th birthday of South Bend’s local legend Betsy Jochum. “Sockum Jochum” as she was known on the diamond was an original South Bend Blue Sox player. She began her six-year career the first year of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943 and has been a fixture in South Bend ever since.
The History Museum of South Bend organized a special drive by birthday extravaganza for Betsy. With snow gently falling friends and fans drove by in cars decked out with birthday greetings. They greeted Betsy with honking horns, waves and cheers. Stu, the mascot of the South Bend Cubs, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, led the cheers while news crews captured the festivities. Betsy was showered with flowers, balloons, birthday gifts and cards, including a special video card delivered by staff from The History Museum. Her video card features special birthday messages from Chicago Cubs players, local and national sportscasters, representatives from the AAGPBL Players Association, the South Bend Cubs, local universities, and other community organizations.
The History Museum continues to honor Betsy with the inclusion of her memorabilia in their permanent exhibit “Polished in Public, Fierce on the Field: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.” You can learn more about The History Museum’s AAGPBL collection on their website.