A Highlighted History of Women in Baseball

1867 – The African American Dolly Vardens of Philadelphia became the first paid baseball team, two years before the first men’s professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

1875 – A game played between the Blondes and the Brunettes in Springfield, Illinois, on Sept. 11 was the first women’s baseball game for which fans were charged and women players were paid.

1876 – The Resolutes, modeled after the Vassar College team, developed their own version of uniforms. These included long-sleeved shirts with frilled high necklines, embroidered belts, wide floor-length skirts, high button shoes and broad striped caps.

1880 – A Smith College team was disbanded after mothers complained about the children playing the sport, saying it was not appropriate for women to play.

1898 – While pitching for the Reading Coal Heavers of the Atlantic League, Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract.

1890s to 1935 – Women’s “Bloomer Girls” clubs barnstormed the U.S. and played men’s town, semi-pro, and Minor League teams; They had an average of three males on the team; Rogers Hornsby and Smokey Joe Wood got their starts with Bloomer Girls teams, dressed as women.

1900s – Bloomer Girls introduced night baseball games.

1904 – Amanda Clement was the first woman to umpire a baseball game and was paid $15-$25 per game.

1908 – Maude Nelson was the starting pitcher for the men’s Cherokee Indian Base Ball Club.

1908 – The U.S. baseball national anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” was inspired by and written about a young girl’s love of the game.

1911-16 – St. Louis Cardinals were owned by Helene Britton.

1920s – Philadelphia had factory teams for women, women’s leagues and the Philadelphia Bobbies for non-working women.

1920s – Mary O’Gara took Philadelphia Bobbies to Japan to play men’s teams.

1928 – Lizzie Murphy became the first woman to play against a Major League team in an exhibition game and the first person, of either gender, to play for All-Star teams in both the American League and National League.

1928 – Mary Gisolo joined the nationwide American Legion Junior Baseball Program and helped lead Blanford Cubs to the Indiana state title.

1930s – The “Bold Years” for women’s baseball; women baseball players toured internationally, played junior baseball and signed Minor League contracts.

1931 – Jackie Mitchell of the Chattanooga Lookouts had her contract voided by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis just days after she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.

1934 – Olympic hero Babe Didrikson pitched exhibition games for the Athletics, Cardinals and Indians.

1943-54 – Philip Wrigley, owner of Chicago Cubs and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, started the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).

1944 – Dottie Wiltse pitched for the AAGPBL up until she was six months pregnant.

1946 – Edith Houghton became the first woman to scout for the Major Leagues.

1946 – Sophie Kurys set the stolen base record for the AAGPBL with 201 stolen bases in 203 attempts; this record continues to be unequalled in baseball history, as Rickey Henderson is second in stolen bases with 130 (1982).

1947 – The Racine Belles of the AAGPBL started the Junior Belles baseball program for girls 14 and older.

1948 – The Junior Belles became more popular, as more girls tried out for the teams; other AAGPBL teams, such as the Lassies and the Comets, began to sponsor girls’ junior baseball teams.

1948 – The AAGBL (also known as the AAGPBL) starts throwing pitches overhand instead of underhand.

1950s – Toni Stone, Connie Morgan, and Mamie “Peanuts” Johnson weren’t allowed to play in the AAGPBL because they were African-American, so they played on men’s professional teams in the Negro Leagues.

1955 – Bill Allington formed two women’s teams called Allington’s All-Stars, which barnstormed the U.S. for two years playing men’s town and semi-pro teams.

1969 – Bernice Gera became the first professional female umpire of a Minor League baseball game.

1971 – Gloria Jean “Jackie” Jackson tried out for Pittsfield Senators; she received an offer from the Raleigh Durham Triangles, but the offer was revoked one day later.

1974 – Janine Cinseruli (at age 10) won her court battle in Massachusetts, allowing girls the right to play baseball in Little League Baseball through Title IX.

1977-83 – Pam Postema umpires at each level of Minor League Baseball, beginning in the Rookie Gulf Coast League and moving up to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1983.

1984 – Bob Hope founded the Sun Sox, a Class A Minor League all-women’s team and tried to enter the team into the Class A Florida State League; however, the league did not award him the franchise.

1988-89 – Pam Postema was invited by baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti to umpire Spring Training games and the Hall of Fame game.

1988 – American Women’s Baseball Association (AWBA) founded in Chicago; first organized women’s league since AAGPBL (1943-1954).

1988 – Julie Croteau played semi-pro baseball for the Fredericksburg Giants of the Virginia Baseball League.

1989 – Following the death of Bart Giamatti, Pam Postema was released from umpiring in the Minor Leagues, concluding a 13-year career.

A Highlighted History of Women in Baseball

1989 – Julie Croteau became the first woman to play collegiate men’s varsity baseball at St. Mary’s College (NCAA Division III).

1990s – American Women’s Baseball League (AWBL; also known as American Women’s Baseball, AWB) was founded by Jim Glennie in an effort to unite women’s baseball teams and leagues around the country and to provide support to them.

1992 – ‘A League of Their Own,’ a movie about the AAGPBL was produced by Penny Marshall.

1993 – Sal Coats became the first woman to play in the Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series.

1994-1997 – The Colorado Silver Bullets women’s baseball team, formed by Bob Hope and sponsored Coors Brewing Company, played men’s college and Minor League teams.

1994 – Women’s National Adult Baseball Association (WNABA) formed; 16 women’s teams played in a women’s world series in Phoenix in 1994.

1995 – WNABA had 100 affiliated women’s baseball teams in 16 states in the U.S.

1995 – Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch and win a complete collegiate baseball game.

1997 – Ladies League Baseball was formed by San Diego businessperson Mike Ribant; it became the first professional women’s baseball league since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

1998 – Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men’s pro game while pitching for the Duluth Dukes independent Minor League team.

1998 – After beginning its second season, the Ladies League Baseball expanded to six teams and went nationwide but folded shortly after due to lack of attendance.

2000 – The American Women’s Baseball League (AWBL) took a team to Japan to play Team Energen, the Japanese women’s national team.

2001 – The first Women’s World Series (WWS) was played at the SkyDome in Toronto. Participating countries included the United States of America, Australia, Canada and Japan. The U.S. won the gold medal.

2003 – Pawtucket Slaterettes all-girls’ baseball league celebrated its 30th season of all-girls’ baseball.

2003 – Women’s baseball became an official sport (39th) of the AAU; this marked the first time in United States history that a U.S. national organization began sanctioning and supporting women’s baseball.

2003 – The American Eagles of American Women’s Baseball Federation (AWBF) became the first women’s baseball team to be sanctioned by USA Baseball.

2004 – The first-ever Women’s Baseball World Cup, sanctioned by the International Baseball Association and Federation (IBAF) and was hosted by Baseball Canada, was played in Edmonton, Alberta. Participating teams were from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.

2004 – USA Baseball sanctioned the first official national women’s baseball team; the team competed in the 2004 WWS and in the 2004 Women’s World Cup of Baseball. The United States won the gold medal.

2006 – Seven countries competed in the 2006 Women’s World Cup in Taiwan: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. The United States won the gold medal.

2007 – Chicago Pioneers girls’ baseball team became the first-ever U.S. Girls’ Baseball National Champions after defeating the Pawtucket Slaterettes during the 2007 Women’s Baseball National Championship/Girls’ Baseball National Championship in Ft. Myers, Florida.

2008 – Eri Yoshida, at 16 years old, signs a professional contract with the Kobe 9 Cruise of a new Japanese independent league. In April 2010, she signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws and became the first ever to play professionally in two countries.

2008 – Women’s World Cup played in Matsuyama, Japan, featured eight teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the United States. Japan won its first gold medal.

2009 – Justine Siegal became the first female coach of a men’s professional baseball team.

2010 – Tiffany Brooks signs a professional baseball contract with the Big Bend Cowboys of the Continental Baseball League. This makes her the first female baseball player to play in an American men’s professional baseball league since Ila Borders, and the first in the 21st Century.

2010 – Women’s Baseball World Cup in Maracay, Venezuela, featured ten teams from Japan, Australia, United States, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the Netherlands. Japan won the gold medal.

2012 – Women’s Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, featured eight teams from Japan, Australia, United States, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands. Japan won the gold medal again.

2014 – Kendra Levesque is the first girl to win the Home Run Derby at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

2014 – Women’s Baseball World Cup in Miyazaki, Japan featured eight teams from Japan, Australia, United States, Venezuela, Canada, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands. Japan won its fourth straight gold medal.

2014 – Mo’ne Davis led her team to the Little League World Series, becoming the first girl to throw a shutout in Little League World Series. She appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was later named Sport’s Illustrated SportsKid of the Year.

2015 – Sarah Hudek receives baseball scholarship to pitch for Bossier Parish Community College.

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