Women's baseball star laid to rest

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Mary Nesbitt Wisham

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On her baseball mound, the place Mary Nesbitt Wisham felt most at home, she lay surrounded by family and close friends.

The 88-year-old was remembered at her funeral Thursday.

Wisham was a left-handed pitcher and first basewoman in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and helped the Racine Belles win the 1943 championship.

Her neighbor remembers Wisham signing one of her first baseball cards for her, sporting that short skirt.

"I said, 'Ms. Mary, how did you slide in on the bases with these short skirts?'" she said. "Well, by then she had started to lean over really bad, and she looks up at me sideways and she says, 'Real careful, real careful.' And that is my fondest memory of her."

One time Wisham showed up to a boys pickup game, graciously offering to pitch for both teams.

"We couldn't hit anything," one man said. "We're 10 or 12 years old thinking we're pretty cocky and hot stuff, and we figured out right quick the only way to get on base was get in front of the ball and walk. It was a scoreless tie."

At that time, the boys didn't even know Wisham had played pro ball and still didn't know until the movie "A League of Their Own" was released, highlighting Wisham's talents as the character Kit.

"She was probably one of the most humble, unassuming people that you'll ever meet," the man said. "What she did, she did behind the scenes, which speaks highly of her Christian character."

"The saying that she is a great lady says a lot at the end of her time," one woman said. "How many of us wish that could be said about us at our end of time?"

On and off the field, Wisham was known as an All American great.

"I just think she will be remembered by the great life and the role model that she was to her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and to the community," said Mary Elizabeth Wisham, Wisham's daughter.

"I'm just going to miss her, but I know what she's doing now. She's up there running the bases," one woman said.

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