Margaret Elnora Wenzell

Obituary for Margaret Elnora Wenzell

May 21, 1925 - July 6, 2014
Palm Desert, California | Age 89

Obituary

Margaret Elnora Wenzell
May 21, 1925-July 6, 2014
Palm Desert, California Age 89
Loving Daughter, Sister, Aunt and Friend to Many

Margaret Elnora Wenzell (Marge) passed away on July 6, 2014 at the age of 89.
Marge was born May 21, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the youngest of 4 children born to Edward and Margaret Wenzell. She spent her childhood in Detroit. She learned to bowl from her mother (Margaret) and sister (Mary) Marge was quite an accomplished bowler. Her athletic ability did not end there she grew up learning the game of baseball from her father (Edward), a semi-professional baseball player, and her two brothers (Eddie and William), who also played the game.
She later joined an industrial softball league in Michigan at the age of 14. Many players from her league entered the AAGPBL in its inaugural season of 1943. She waited a couple of years to attend a tryout and was assigned to the Grand Rapids Chicks. During her career (1945-1953) she played for 9 different teams. She was a utility player in the infield and outfield. She was only 5 foot 2 inches and 134 pounds but she was a dynamo that played every position except pitcher and catcher. Along with numerous scrapes and bruises she suffered a dislocated shoulder. One of her most memorable moments was an inside the park home run. She dropped a line drive between two outfielders and stretched a single into a homer. She said, "I was circling the bases and they waved me to home plate. I slid into home on my belly." What really made this so special was that it was the winning run for the Sallies and her parents were there to see it.
After baseball Marge worked at General Motors for two years. It may have been from working there that she loved cars. Her most favorite was her blue 1966 mustang. She then moved to California where she worked for an electric company. She lived in Anaheim for many years with her friend and fellow baseball player Dorothy Kamenshek. This explains their love hate relationship with the Angels baseball team. It was always fun to watch a game with them and hear how easy the players have it today compared to the good old days of the AAGPBL. While in Anaheim they cared for Dorothy's Mom until she passed. That is one of Marge's best qualities she was a very caring person and not only cared for family but was always there for her many friends to help if they were in need. In addition to being so companionate for friends and family Marge had a huge spot in her heart for dogs. She loved them all big and small. She regularly contributed to the SPCA and Guide Dogs of the Desert. Her charity did not end there she was also very patriotic and remembered and gave to our veterans. She could often be seen in the morning going to put the American flag out in one of her many t-shirts from the SPCA.
After she retired in 1985 she moved to Thousand Oaks. She and friend Kammie were very involved in golf at the local golf course. They traveled and golfed and Marge continued to excel as an athlete having a low handicap, achieving club champion, and even a hole in one.
Marge and Kammie were not only pioneers in being some of the first professional female athletes but they continued to be advocates for women's sports by traveling around to many school and community events for children and adults. A cause that was near and dear to their heart was the Joe DiMaggio children's hospital. They were there for the ground breaking and continued to be there at Joe's request to meet with children in the hospital.
Marge, Kammie, Lefty Holmayer and Pepper Paire Davis formed the group called the Legendary Ladies of baseball. They traveled nationally to sign autographs and meet with people. Marge said that she loved to talk to people. They were at dinner catching up with a friend named June Peppas when they came up with the idea of a reunion to see where everyone from the league was 25-35 years later. They were instrumental in getting the annual reunions started of the AAGPBL players association that continue annually today. The players association enlisted Marge, Kammie, Tiby, Fay and Pepper to begin composing a league history. Due to the formation of the association and a revitalization of the history of the league the attention and recognition of the amazing ladies of the league began to grow nationally. In 1988, Marge and all of the other players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York as part of the Women in Baseball display. Penny Marshall became aware of the league after watching a documentary and decided it was a story that needed to be told. She requested the help of the ladies from the association. After a cast was selected an tryouts were held Penny Marshall invited the L.A. "girls" consisting of Pepper, Marge, Kammie, Tiby, Faye, Leftey, Inez, Anita, and Peggy to her home to interact with the ladies in the cast. The girls gave the cast pointers on "how to's" and ended the evening by singing the league song.
In 2000, Marge moved to Palm Desert with plans to golf and travel. Six months after moving there her friend Kammie had a stroke and true to form Marge was there to provide care and encouragement until Kammie died in 2010. At 89, Marge was one of the oldest living former AAGPBL players she was called to the big leagues on God's ball field on July 6, 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was little but mighty all the way to the end. She is survived by several nieces and nephews as well as many friends who were like family. You were a pioneer, philanthropist, inspiration, true friend and always will be a Legendary Lady. We love and miss you. Batter up! Hear that call! The time has come for you to play ball…

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