Women in Sports: Baseball

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • Women have been playing baseball since 1866. Vassar College had the first women's baseball team.
  • Lanny Moss was the first woman to manage a professional men's baseball team. In 1974 she was hired by the minor league Portland Mavericks.
  • Girls were officially admitted to Little League on June 12, 1974.
  • The first woman ever to sign a professional baseball( contract was Lizzie Arlington in 1898. The 20-year-old pioneer pitched one game for Reading (Pa.) of the Class A Atlantic League.
  • In 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a minor league team in the Southern Association. She was a pitcher who is best remembered for striking out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.
  • Amanda Clement was the first official female umpire in men's baseball. She umpired from 1905 to 1911 for Midwestern semi-pro teams. She designed her own uniform, which was an ankle-length skirt, a white shirt with a black tie, and a baseball cap. She stored extra baseballs in her blouse. She later discarded the tie and had UMPS printed on the front of her uniform.
  • The All American Girls Professional Baseball League or AAGPBL debuted in 1943 to give baseball fans something else to watch during World War II. Philip Wrigley, a chewing-gum mogul and owner of the Chicago Cubs, started the league and soon found that there was an abundance of women with baseball talent through the U.S. and Canada. He used Hall of Fame players Dave Bancroft, Max Carey, and Jimmie Foxx as manager in the league to draw interest. The league enjoyed many years of success before eventually folding in 1954. A League of Their Own, a movie starring Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna depicted the early years of the league.
  • The first woman owner of a major league team was Helene Britton, who owned the St. Louis Cardinals from 1911 to 1917.
  • In 1984 Victoria Roche became the first girl to play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
  • The first woman to pitch for a men's baseball team was Ila Borders. She began playing for Southern California College in Costa Mesa, California, in 1994.
  • The first Women's World Cup of Baseball was held in 2004. The United States women's national baseball team won the 2004 and 2006 World Cup events.
  • In 2006, Effa Manley became the first woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. In the 1930s and 1940s she was co-owner of the Newark Eagles, a Negro League team.
  • In 2012, softball legend Michele Smith joined two men in providing commentary on a TBS telecast of a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. She became the first female sports analyst to call the play-by-play for a nationally televised Major League Baseball game.

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