Margaret "Sonny" Eloise Berger (born December 24, 1922) is a former pitcher who played from 1943 through 1944 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m), 129 lb., she batted and threw right-handed.
The AAGPBL changed women's team sports forever. Still, the void the league filled during World War II was inspiration enough for the 1992 film A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall and starred by Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna.
Born in Homestead, Florida, Sonny Berger was one of the sixty original players of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in its inaugural season. The AAGPBL was introduced in the spring of 1943, featuring young women with both athletic ability and feminine appeal. Hundreds of girls were invited to final tryouts at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Of those, sixty were selected as the first women to play on the first four teams: the Kenosha Comets, Racine Belles, Rockford Peaches and South Bend Blue Sox. Each team had fifteen players, a manager, a business manager and a female chaperone. Most AAGPBL games were played at night, including the All-Star game of the inaugural season on July 1, 1943, which also was the first contest played under artificial illumination at Wrigley Field.
Berger was allocated to the South Bend Blue Sox, playing for them two seasons, to become a major star in both years. She posted two straight 20-win seasons, going 25–13 with a 1.91 earned run average in 1943, following with a 21–17 mark in 1944, including a miserly 1.57 ERA. In 1943, she joined Doris Barr to pitch 79 of the 91 games played by the Blue Sox (Barr was credited with 15 wins). In the same season, Berger stated her greatest triumph. a 13-inning match, which she won 1–0.
Berger compiled a 46–30 record and a 1.75 ERA in 88 career games. She also hit a modest .153 average with 18 runs batted in in 88 games, but she only was striking out six times in 222 at-bats.
After that, Berger played for the Chicago Chicks and Thillens Checashers of the National Girls Baseball League.
Berger lived in Sun City West and Surprise, Arizona and passed away January 25, 2015 of natural causes.
Author: Regency Mortuary, Sun City, AR
Contributed By: Carol Sheldon
Copyright: Regency Mortuary, Sun City, AR