This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled limited-edition bobbleheads of Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel. Donahue and Henschel were featured in the Netflix documentary, “A Secret Love,” which chronicled their 72-year relationship. The two met when Donahue was playing for the Peoria Redwings in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1947, and they ultimately got married on Donahue’s 90th birthday in 2015. The special edition bobbleheads were produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Terry’s bobblehead is officially licensed by the AAGPBL.
In a crouching position on a Peoria Redwings base bearing her name, the Donahue bobblehead is wearing catcher’s gear including a removable face mask while ready to receive a pitch which replicates her AAGPBL baseball card. On skates and wearing a red Moose Jaw Wildcats hockey uniform with No. 5 across the front, the Henschel bobblehead is holding a hockey stick on an ice rink base, which bears her name. The two bobbleheads connect at the base.
The bobbleheads, which are both individually numbered, are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbleheads just arrived and are $30 each or $50 for the set of 2 plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order.
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Donahue learned to play baseball with the help of her brother on the family farm and later played softball in school. In 1945, Donahue was invited by an AAGPBL scout to spring training the next year in Mississippi and was assigned to the Redwings, an expansion team based in Peoria, Illinois. During her four seasons in the league, Donahue played every position except first base and pitcher, but primarily served as catcher. Listed at 5-foot-2 and 125 pounds, the right-handed Donahue collected 92 hits, 50 RBI, 44 stolen bases and scored 67 runs in her career.
Donahue, who also played with the Admiral Music Maids in the rival National Girls Baseball League in Chicago, worked for an interior design firm in Chicago for 38 years while residing in St. Charles, Illinois. In 1998, she was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2009, she served as the Grand Marshal during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, joining former Chicago White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce and former Chicago Cubs catcher Randy Hundley.
Henschel and Donahue first met at an ice rink while playing hockey in the Canadian city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where both had grown up. One night, on the back of an ice hockey ticket, Henschel wrote a confession to Donahue that said, “I’m a reader of books, but I’ve never read anywhere where a woman loves another woman. I hope you feel the same way, too.” For the next several years, Henschel, who was 18 when they met, would travel with Donahue on her baseball trips and watch her play. The couple lived together in the Chicago area (as “roommates”), and remained together, in secret, for decades – only coming out to their families in 2009 when they were in their 80s.
In April 2020, Netflix released the well-received documentary, which chronicled the longtime relationship between Donahue and Henschel. The couple ultimately got married on Donahue’s 90th birthday in 2015. Directed by Donahue’s great-nephew Chris Bolan and filmed between 2013 and 2018, the love story commenced just in time to capture the couple in their final years together. After suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Donahue died in 2019 at the age of 93. Henschel has received fan mail and interview requests since the film’s debut. “I feel her always,” the 92-year-old said about her late wife in an interview. “We want to share our love with the rest of the world. I hope that audiences learn to see how true love really works, and how wonderful it is.”
“We are excited to release these bobbleheads of Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and Phil Sklar said. “The Netflix documentary, ‘A Secret Love,’ detailed Pat and Terry’s longtime relationship and they have become celebrities and icons ever since their love story was introduced to countless people. While Terry contributed greatly to the history of the AAGPBL and will forever be a role model, the documentary introduced her to a new generation of fans.”