Dorothy (Dot) Wilkinson (1921-2023)
Dot Wilkinson was a true trailblazer in the sport of women’s fast pitch softball, beginning her playing career for the Phoenix Ramblers in 1933 when she was just 11 years old and continuing through 1965. Wilkinson was a force to be reckoned with behind the plate, spending majority of her career as a catcher – a position that allowed her to capitalize on her natural leadership skills. A standout player for the Ramblers, Wilkinson helped lead the squad to national championship titles in 1940, 1948 and 1949, while earning 19 All-American honors throughout her 30-year career.
A member of the National Softball Hall of Fame (1970), Wilkinson collected a variety of accolades throughout her storied career including being enshrined into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame (1990) as well as being the first woman to be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame (1975).
Dot Wilkinson excelled at softball as well as bowling. In fact, she’s the only member of the National Softball Hall of Fame who is a member of a Hall of Fame in another sport. Twenty years after being inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame, Wilkinson was inducted into the WIBC Hall of Fame for winning a Triple Crown event, the Women’s International Bowling Congress Queens Tournament in 1962 and the WIBC national singles in 1963.
Wilkinson started out playing second base for the PBSW Ramblers and a few years later was switched to behind the plate by coach Ford Hoffman, who told her, “You’re the catcher, you run the team. You’re in a position to see everything that goes on, you can call every play, you can do the whole bit. That’s the place to be.” Before retiring in 1965, Wilkinson earned 19 All-America awards and had some outstanding years for the Ramblers, including:
- 1952 (.374 batting average)
- 1953 (.363 batting average )
- 1957 (.387 average in national championship)
- 1955 (.450 average in national with no errors on 36 chances)
- 1954 (.455 average and 1.000 fielding percentage on 84 chances in national )
Dot said one of her greatest thrills came in 1940 when the Ramblers won their first of three national titles (1948 and 1949). Another thrill came in 1970 when she received her Hall of Fame plaque. If there was a disappointment, Dot said, it was not winning the national tourney in 1964. Retired from real estate sales in 1985, Wilkinson was born October 9, 1921. In 1999, Wilkinson was eighth and the only woman among the top 10 of The Republic’s Arizona Athletes of the Century.