Fox-TV hoping for perfect Pitch
A casual observer may argue that a female MLB player is still a long way off. However, while the gender line has not been broken in Major League Baseball, women have previously played baseball professionally. Most recently, Ila Borders pitched for the Saint Paul Saints of the Independent Northern League. Borders earned a win for the Saints in the 1998 season, thus cementing her name in record books. Borders would play from 1997-2000 professionally in independent leagues. However, she is also not alone in the ranks women pitchers.
In 2014 Mo’ne Davis captured the heart of America as the first girl to record a win in the Little League Baseball World Series. Davis, then 13, had a 70 mph fastball and threw a shutout against Nashville, Tenn., while giving up only two hits. This was also the first shutout pitched by a girl in Little League tournament. After the game, then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett predicted Davis would pitch in the MLB. Mo’ne and her team visited Cooperstown later that year to donate her game jersey to the Museum. Joining her and her team was one of three women to play for Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League – Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Johnson was joined on the Clowns by Toni Stone and Connie Morgan. Johnson, like Davis, was a pitcher. All three women played well at the professional level.
Other women, including those who played in the famed All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, have left their mark on the game both on the field and in the front office, such as Hall of Fame executive Effa Manley. Women have assumed a role in professional baseball at almost every level, but the one that seems to stand out the most is the lack of a female player at the big league level. Organizations like Baseball For All (baseballforall.com) encourage girls to continue playing baseball by supporting girls through camps and all-star teams. With these supports in place, maybe Fox was right by saying that Pitch is a “true story on the verge of happening”. We may see our first female pitcher pop-up in the MLB sooner than you think.
Pitch premiers Thursday Sept. 22 at 8:59 EDT.
Nate Tweedie is the manager of on-site learning at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum