Breaking Barriers

Julie Croteau has pioneered the role of women on the field

March 07, 2012
(NBHOF Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – In 1988, Julie Croteau filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against her high school for not allowing her to play on the baseball team.

She lost. But Croteau didn’t let the lawsuit stop her from playing the game.

She went on to be the first female to play men’s Division III college baseball at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, played the inaugural season of the Colorado Silver Bullets women’s professional baseball team that existed for four seasons in the 1990s and was the first of two women to play in the professional Hawaiian Winter League in 1994.

“What matters most is that girls and women have the opportunity to participate in the sport of their choice,” Croteau said. “Baseball and softball are as different as they appear similar. For this reason, they will appeal to different athletes.”

Croteau was even a member of the first all-women broadcast team for baseball on Liberty Sports and the first female assistant baseball coach for a men’s Division I college team at UMass-Amherst in Massachusetts.

She has promoted the game in other countries with Major League Baseball and even served as a stunt double in the hit movie A League of Their Own. A photo of Croteau taken during her playing days at St. Mary’s is on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Diamond Dreams exhibit.

Croteau believes that women can and will compete in the major leagues someday.

“Yes, with every cell in my body.”

As the US Women’s National Team manager in 2006, Croteau scouted a number of young players who haven’t made it on the national scene yet.

“I can say the best is yet to come for women’s baseball.”

Samantha Carr is the former manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum