FRED LEO PAPERS
Scope and Contents
The papers in this collection detail the career of Fred Leo as sportscaster, sportswriter and president of the All American Girls Baseball League. The collection contains an interesting assortment of ephemera, memorabilia and papers documenting an early professional women's sport.
Articles, newspaper clippings, newsletters, booklets and a manual comprise the portion of this series related to the All American Girls Baseball League including reviews of a movie and a book about the League. Also, the series includes newspaper clippings about the sports Leo covered as a sportscaster.
This series includes programs, correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning Leo's involvement with sports-related organizations, as well as correspondence from his friends. The series also contains Leo's 1992 obituary.
Magazine articles about the All American Girls Baseball League comprise this series.
Black-and-white photographs of players, managers and teams of the All American Girls Baseball League constitute a portion of this series. Also included are photographs of sports figures and Leo performing his role as a sportscaster on the radio.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Biographical / Historical
Fred Leo was born in Illinois April 26, 1914. He attended the Northern Illinois State Teachers College at DeKalb, Illinois, and in 1935, graduated from the University of Illinois School of Journalism. He was a sports announcer for DeKalb, Illinois Radio Station WMBD until 1941 when he became director of sports and special events. He held that position until 1946 when he took a position as activities director with Caterpillar Tractor in Peoria, Illinois.
In 1947, Leo became publicity man and assistant to Max Carey, president of the All American Girls Baseball League. Formed during the World War II because male baseball players were serving overseas, Chicago chewing-gum magnate, Philip Wrigley began the League in 1943. Starting with four teams, the League expanded, having eleven different teams in its eleven-year existence: Racine, Wisconsin; Rockford, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Battle Creek, Michigan; Fort Wayne, Indiana; South Bend, Indiana; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Kenosha, Wisconsin; Muskegon, Michigan; and Springfield, Illinois.
The rules for the All American Girls Baseball League closely resembled those for the men's teams with some exceptions: a slightly larger ball, bases slightly closer together and overhand pitching instituted by 1948. Women players were signed by the League and allocated to member teams. They wore pastel-colored uniforms with short skirts. They played a 112-game schedule yearly, practiced in Florida and Cuba and had chaperones to supervise their personal activities.
Leo became president of the All American Girls Baseball League in 1949 when Max Carey resigned. He managed the League until 1952 when he resigned to move to Denver, Colorado to manage a Chicken Delight fast-food franchise. The League continued until 1954. The teams operated as nonprofit civic organizations, but despite often-brisk ticket sales, the League lacked publicity and sound financial management.
Leo became a sportscaster for Denver radio stations including KMYR, KBTR and KDEN. He did play-by-play announcing for the Denver Bears baseball team and, later, the Denver Broncos on KWGN and KBTV television.
In 1940, Leo married Phyllis (1918-1990) from Sycamore, Illinois. They had three children: Gary, Jill and Debbie. Leo retired in 1974. He died September 6, 1992.
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Fred and Debbie Leo donated material in 1990 and 1993. The collection was processed with funds from the 2011 Rosenstock Award, awarded to the Western History and Genealogy Department by the Denver Posse of Westerners.
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League -- Archival resources.
- Baseball commissioners -- United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Clippings (information artifacts). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Ephemera. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Leo, Fred, -- 1914-1997 -- Archives.
- Office files. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Sportscasters -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Sportswriters -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Women baseball players -- United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- FRED LEO PAPERS
- January 2012
- Language of description
- Script of description