Women's pro softball team to pay tribute to Forest Park Bloomer Girls

Saturday throwback game to be played in vintage uniforms


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By Jean Lotus


Women's softball fans will get a nostalgic boost at the Chicago Bandits National Pro Fastpitch Softball game Saturday when players wear the vintage uniforms of Forest Park's Parichy Bloomer Girls.

Tickets are already sold out for the vintage throwback game to be held in Rosemont on the Bandits home turf Ballpark at Balmoral and Pearl Streets. The Chicago Bandits will play the USSSA Pride team, based in Florida.

With help from the Historical Society of Forest Park, the Bandits recreated the vintage team uniforms: long knee socks, linen jerseys over long-sleeves and shorts. The Bloomer Girls also wore satin jerseys during night games to better reflect the light.

The Bloomer Girls were part of the Chicago-centered National Girls Baseball League, who played at their own Parichy stadium in Forest Park and across the region between 1934 and 1955.

Stars of the league included Lois Roberts Strenkowski (who always played barefoot) and pitcher Wilda Mae Turner. Emery Parichy, who owned a local roofing company, purchased the  Chicago/Vogel's Bloomer Girls team in the late 30s from owner Edward Bumgardner, who founded the team in 1924. Parichy brought the team to Forest Park. During World War II, while male baseball players were scarce, the women became part of a baseball league. The Bloomer Girls competed with the other teams the Music Maids, the Rockola Chicks and the Match Corp. Queens. The league drew 500,000 fans at three regional Chicago stadiums.

Documentary filmmaker Adam A. Chu researched the Bloomer Girls uniforms while working at the historical society and as an intern for the Bandits. Chu is creating a film based on the National Girls Baseball League.

Two years ago, the Chicago Bandits played a vintage uniform game wearing the emblems of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Chicago Colleens.


This article has been updated to correct Emery Parichy's line of work and correct Chu's first name.

Email: jlotus@forestparkreview.com Twitter: @FP_Review

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Terry Johnson from Zebulon NC  

Posted: July 14th, 2018 1:33 PM

My Aunt pitched for the Bloomer girls from 1946 to 1954. She was from Bakersfield California. He name was Wilda Mae Turner. I have alot of her records of that time as does her High School Bakersfield High School that I donated years ago

Roger Bruggemeyer from Meadowlakes,TX  

Posted: November 25th, 2013 6:27 PM

I grew up in Forest Park, hawked ice cream at the Bloomer Girl's games. My math teacher at Field -Stevensen was a shortstop for them . I also played against them as a member of an "allstar team" from our fast pitch city league. Let me tell you, Wilda Mae's fast ball hopped a foot !!! I think our pitcher was George Bouska and he was good,too. There was a tree right center and anything we hit over the fence between it and the foul line was ground rule double. The men's league was awesome,too.

Barbara from Charles City  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 7:13 PM

Thank you Ms. Lotus.I will call them.

Adam Chu from Chicago  

Posted: August 17th, 2013 6:13 AM

Three things, Lois Roberts Strenkowski played in the National Girls Baseball League, but not for the Parichy Bloomer Girls. She was a member of the Thillens Checashers team that played at Thillens Stadium. Second, Emery Parichy did not buy the Boston Bloomer Girls team. He purchased the Chicago/Vogel's Bloomer Girls team in the late 30s from owner Edward Bumgardner, who founded the team in 1924. Last thing, my name is Adam Chu, Alexander is my middle name. Thanks.

Donna G from Waterville  

Posted: August 16th, 2013 1:16 PM

I Think this is awesome - is it going to be televised? It would be so cool.

Jean Lotus from Forest Park Review Forest Park Review Employee

Posted: August 15th, 2013 5:40 PM

Barbara, The Historical Society of Forest Park has a large Bloomer Girl photo and memorabilia collection. You can reach them at 708-232-3747.

Barbara from Charles City  

Posted: August 15th, 2013 4:54 PM

Are there any more pictures? My mom played with the Bloomer girls, Her name was LaVerne Anderson!

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