In 1927 Lefty O’Doul spotted a young brother and sister in the stands at Recreation Park. O’Doul took a liking to the kids and invited the boy, ten-year-old Tim and the girl, thirteen-year-old Alice, to play some catch on the field. Alice, a bit of a tomboy, was invited to sit on the Seals bench as the team’s unofficial mascot the rest of the year.
The boy, Tim Marble, eventually played four seasons in the minor leaues, including two brief stints with Mission/Hollywood in 1937 and 1939.
The girl, Alice Marble, became one of the world’s great tennis players, capturing eighteen grand slam titles including singles at Wimbledon in 1939 and the U.S. Open four times. She also led an incredible–and often tragic– life outside of tennis.
She survived a rape as a teenager. She married a pilot who was killed in action in Germany during WW II just days after she suffered a miscarriage. She attempted suicide but recovered and agreed to become a spy for the U.S. in 1945. She was shot in the back by a Nazi agent, but was rescued. She later worked as an editor for DC Comics on the “Wonder Woman” series.Marble was a great supporter of Althea Gibson and the integration of tennis in the 1950s and later tutored Billie Jean King. Alice was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964 and died in 1990 at age 77. She is pictured below with Lefty O’Doul during her tennis career.
Lefty often championed female athletes–late in life he promoted the exploits of female golfers Donna Caponi and Kathy Whitworth. He also served as batting instructor to Alice Tognotti as she attempted to make good in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.