It’s Women in Baseball Week
by Rebecca Herman
July 23, 2019
When you hear the phrase “women in baseball” … what is the first thing that comes to mind?
If you thought, “A League of Their Own” you are not alone! The 1992 film was a box office hit and brought awareness and even celebrity to the women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943 to 1954.
Would you be surprised to learn that the St. Louis Black Bronchos played in 1910-1911? They were a black women’s baseball team, managed by Conrad Kuebler, who played men’s teams across the Midwest and Southwest. The Boston Bloomer Girls were somewhat of a novelty act but highly successful at baseball for decades (1890s-1930s). What about Jackie Mitchell? As the story goes, she was a 17-year-old pitcher who struck out Ruth and Gehrig in 1931. Following the AAGPBL, three women played in the previously all-male Negro League in the 1950s. Toni Stone with the Kansas City Monarchs and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Connie Morgan with the Indianapolis Clowns.
But it didn’t end there. Ila Borders pitched professionally from 1997 to 2000. Eri Yoshida was Japan’s first professional female baseball player. Founder of Baseball for All, Justine Siegal became the first woman to coach a men’s professional baseball team. She also has thrown batting practices for the Cleveland Indians at Spring Training in 2011 and the guest instructor for the Oakland Athletics Instructional League in 2015.
Young girls, teens, and women want to play baseball.
Did you know there is a Women’s Baseball World Cup? It began in 2004 with only five teams and had twelve national squads compete in 2018. While USA Baseball won in 2004 and 2006 since 2008 Japan has dominated and the US women want to change that!
The 2019 Women’s National Team will compete in the Women’s Pan-American Championships August 18-25 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Five-time Team USA alumna, Veronica Alvarez, was recently named as manager for the team.
July 21-27, 2019 is Women in Baseball Week. The International Women’s Baseball Center describes this as a worldwide event to recognize the value, diversity, and cultural signification of women in baseball. The theme for this year is “The Future is Now.” The Louisville Slugger Museum is hosting a special Women in Baseball display this week (July 21-27, 2019). For this first time, the AAGPBL hosted a girls baseball camp July 19-21 at the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facilities. For more exhibits and activities, please check with the Women in Baseball 2019 Events Calendar.
Share your stories of women in baseball with the hashtags #WomenInBaseballWeek #StepUpToThePlate #TheFutureIsNow