Helen (Callaghan) Candaele St. Aubin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Helen (Callaghan) Candaele St. Aubin

Helen (née Callaghan) Candaele St. Aubin, professional baseball player (born 13 March 1923 in Vancouver, B.C.; died 8 December 1992 in Santa Barbara, California). Helen Callaghan was a top amateur softball player in Vancouver before starring in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). She led the league in batting average in 1945, leading sportswriters to call her “the feminine Ted Williams.” An outfielder, she was known for a strong throwing arm and for speed and wile on the basepaths. She was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum with the other Canadian AAGPBL players in 1998; she was inducted individually in 2021. Her youngest son, Casey Candaele, enjoyed a nine-year career in Major League Baseball. He is the only MLB player whose mother also played professional baseball.

Early Life

Helen Callaghan was born in Vancouver to Hazel May (née Terryberry) and Albert Callaghan. They had six children together, who all played sports. Helen and her sister, Margaret, who was a year older, often played on the same team. Helen was a sprinter who also played softball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and basketball for school and Mount Pleasant neighbourhood teams. The Vancouver Sun once described her as a “little bundle of dynamite.”


In 1944, she signed a contract to play for $65 per week in a year-old professional circuit known as the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). She was recruited after having played in a softball tournament in Detroit the previous season.

Physically slight at 5-foot-1, 115-pounds (1.55 m, 52 kg), the left-handed hitting Callaghan was second in the league in batting in her rookie season with a. 287 average. She led the league batting crown the following season with a. 299 average. Her career average over five seasons with the Minneapolis Millerettes, Fort Wayne Daisies and Kenosha Comets was.256. A savvy sense of timing and terrific speed on the base paths made her a constant base-stealing threat. She stole a remarkable 419 bases in 495 career games before retiring after the 1949 season.

Her sister Margaret, later known as Marge Maxwell, joined Helen midway through her first AAGPBL season and was a teammate for several years. Marge played through the 1951 season.

Life after Baseball

In 1946, Helen married Robert Candaele, from British Columbia. She was one of the rare players in the league to have interrupted her playing career to give birth. The youngest of their five sons, Casey Candaele, played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for nine years, beginning with the Montreal Expos in 1986. The manager of the Toronto Blue Jays’ AAA affiliate as of 2023, he is the only major leaguer whose mother also played professional baseball. Her other son, Kelly Candaele, co-produced a documentary titled A League of Their Own (1987). It inspired the Hollywood movie of the same name, starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna.

After a divorce, Helen married Ronald St. Aubin and settled in California. She was a housekeeping supervisor at a local hospital in Lompoc for many years, before dying of breast cancer in 1992 at age 69.


In 1998, all 68 Canadians who were rostered with a team in the AAGPBL were inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys, Ontario. Callaghan was inducted for her individual achievements in 2021.

(See also Women and Sport; The History of Canadian Women in Sport.)