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11 Classy Baseball Wives of the 50s and 60s

by: Esteban On  Wednesday, May 16, 2012

classy baseball wives of the 50s and 60s

It’s always seemed to me that baseball wives of the 1950s and 60s, in addition to being beautiful, were so classy and dignified when compared to the baseball wives of today. But I kind of figured this was probably a false perception—chalk it up to black and white still photography and the mystique of “the golden age” of baseball.

Now I’m not so sure. Here at Total Pro Sports we recently did a list of the 50 hottest MLB WAGs of 2012, and for every two guys married to their high school sweethearts, there’s at least one dating or married to a porn star, Playboy Playmate, or lingerie model. So maybe the gals were “classier” back in the day. I mean, there’s no way everything was as perfect as it looked in the pages of Life magazine—the divorce rate then and now is probably about the same—but if nothing else there was a little more concern for seeming wholesome.

So today, let’s take a look at some of the classy “dames” ballplayers used to marry back in the 1950s and 60s, shall we?

11. Barbara Aaron

#11 barbara aaron hank aaron's first wife

Baseball’s all-time home run king (unless you actually count Barry Bonds’ home runs, which I do not) met his first wife, Barbara, after a game in 1953. The two married at the end of the season and had four kids, but split up in 1971—which is a bummer. Barbara was the one who took care of his family throughout most of his career, but it was Aaron’s second wife, Billye, who got hugged and kissed after he cracked number 715.

10. Carmen Berra

#10 carmen berra, 1968 yogi berra's wife

Yankees catcher Yogi Berra was famous for the goofy non-sequiturs he give to reporters before games, after games, or pretty much any time he opened his mouth. (“It aint over till it’s over”; “always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours”; “baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical”; and so on.) So it kind of makes you wonder: what kind of crazy stuff did he say in the sack? Only wife Carmen would know, but I’m guessing her lips are sealed.

9. Merlyn Mantle

9-mickey-mantle-and-wife-merlyn

The absolutely lovely Merlyn Mantle (what a name) sure looks happy here in this photo, but now everyone knows her life was probably hell behind closed doors—what with husband Mickey Mantle being a legendary, angry drunk and all.

Kind of bums you out, doesn’t it?

8. Rachel Robinson

jackie-robinsons-wife-rachel-robinson

You would expect a guy with as much grace and class as Jackie Robinson would have a beautiful and elegant wife. Sure enough, in Rachel Robinson, the late Jackie had just that. She met the most important baseball player in history while the two were both students at UCLA in the 40s. She was there for nursing, he was there to play practically every sport there was. Eventually they married, had kids, broke the color barrier in baseball, changed U.S. history, and lived happily ever after.

7. Ruth Ryan

#7 Ruth Ryan with husband nolan ryan

Nolan Ryan peaked in the 70s. Then again in the 80s. And then again in the 90s. But don’t forget, he made his major league debut with the Mets in 1966. The very next year, he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth. They’re still together today, and you can see Ruth (who’s aged very well) sitting next to her husband, who owns the Texas Rangers, at all the team’s big games.

6. Margherite Mays

willie mays' first wife

The great Willie Mays married his first wife, Margherite, in 1956. Unfortunately, like so many other sports marriages, this one didn’t last, and the two divorced just under a decade later…but not before this iconic photo of Margherite was taken.

5. Doris Williams

Doris Soule ted williams wife

Ted Williams is possibly baseball’s greatest pure hitter, and definitely in the top 5. (Personally, I’d say he’s #2 behind Ruth and just barely ahead of Willie Mays.) He’s also one of the game’s most legendary pricks, known for being a jerk to pretty much anyone he came across. So it’s no surprising that his first marriage to this lovely young woman (Doris) didn’t work out. (She almost certainly was better off without him, if all the stories are true.)

4. Vera Clemente

vera zabala clemente

The only player in the history of baseball who could rival Jackie Robinson in class is Roberto Clemente. Jackie broke the color barrier and absorbed racial insults with infinite dignity; Roberto worked tirelessly to improve the lives of less fortunate people in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean nations. It’s no surprise that both had amazing women by their sides. In Roberto’s case, it was Vera, whom he married in 1964.

3. Lillian Musial

 lillian musial

The commissioner of baseball called Stan Musial “baseball’s perfect knight” in 1968.

How’d you like to have to live up to that billing?

Well, luckily for baseball fans, Stan Musial was game. He was nothing but class through-and-through, and his wife, Lil, was no different. The two have basically reigned as the King and Queen of St. Louis, where Stan played his entire career, since the 1940s. Sadly, the better half of this old-fashioned all-American couple passed away just two weeks ago, on May 3, 2012.

2. Ginger Drysdale

don and ginger drysdale

Don Drysdale’s wife’s name was Ginger? Man, it doesn’t get any more all-American than that, does it? Don and Ginger? And of course, she’s absolutely gorgeous.

Unfortunately, things probably weren’t quite as happy as they seems. The two divorced in 1981 after 23 years of marriage, and in my experience, couples don’t divorce after two decades unless there are some deep-seeded issues.

1. Marilyn Monroe

USA: JOE DIMAGGIO & MARILYN MONROE

You know this one was coming, didn’t you? Who else could top a list of baseball wives of the 50s and 60s but Marilyn Monroe. She was only married to Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio for one year—1954—but for that year they were like JFK and Jackie, Brad and Angelina, and Tom and Giselle, all rolled into one.




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