Women Play Baseball. Here Are Their Stories.
When we did a show about how women and girls have been systematically shut out of playing baseball, the response was overwhelming.
On the show, we heard from two young baseball stars—Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to pitch a shut-out in a Little League World Series and Gabby Velez, a teenage player and coach to young girls in New Jersey—and from Justine Siegal, founder of Baseball For All, and Jennifer Ring, author of “Stolen Bases: Why American girls Don’t Play Ball.”
And we heard from you. During and after the show, we received hundreds of calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages and comments from players, coaches and parents. Some told of how they faced discrimination and tried to break stereotypes. Others talked about the growing movement to level the playing field for the national pastime.
Here are some of the highlights…
My daughter played little league with the boys and loved it…In second grade, a boy on the team told her “you should be playing with dolls.” She went to bat, knocked the ball out of the park, came back to bench and told the boy “maybe you should play with dolls.”
I have always loved to play baseball and when I was young, I was good at it. As a kid in the 1950’s, the boys in the neighborhood said “No girls except Heather.” In 1990, the Indians held their first Fantasy Camp, which I attended. That was the first time I had played baseball in about 35 years. I realized I still loved to play … Since then I have discovered a women’s baseball league and am now PLAYING BASEBALL with other women. I’ve slowed down a lot but my passion for the game has not diminished. The women I play with are mostly 28 to 42 and are very supportive of my efforts. There must be more females who have a passion for playing baseball as we have for the game.
I grew up in the ’50s and ‘60s. My older brother played on a Little League team. I attended one of his games dressed in the prior year’s uniform. I was told by his coach to take the shirt off as wearing it was a violation on Little League rules. Two years ago, I went to the Little League museum in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The display on the litigation that led to girls playing on Little League teams brought me to tears. We’ve come a long way yet still have a long road ahead.
In the mid 1950s, I tried out for a Little League team and made it. As a matter of fact, in order for the boys to make the team, they had to catch what I threw and hit. Just before the start of the season, I was told that I couldn’t play because the league didn’t have insurance that covered girls. I got to keep score that summer.
I am an American now living in France. Softball was my life when I was younger. So when I moved here, I was happy to join the baseball/softball team in my city. In France, all children who join the club play baseball, and softball isn’t even a choice until 16. Just a few years ago, after age 16, girls had to change to softball if they wanted to continue playing as adults, but the French baseball/softball federation has since changed the rules so now women can play baseball too.
Growing up, I absolutely loved playing baseball. I couldn’t wait to get home to play. I played all kinds of sports, but playing ball with my friends was probably my absolute favorite way to spend my time. When I tried out for a softball team I thought two things: Why is it called softball and why are the balls so big? I can barely grip and throw it. It ruined the game for me and I’ve never understood why there wasn’t a proper baseball team for me to join. So I was stuck with few options other than soccer and basketball.
I coached in a little league baseball league in Montana. Our team had 6 girls, one other team had one girl. We went undefeated and sent one girl to the all-star game.