A telegram that changed baseball history
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Britton understood her unique position in the baseball world, but she believed a woman could be just as big a baseball fan as a man. She encouraged women’s interest in the sport by introducing a Ladies’ Day promotion in St. Louis and hired singers to perform during games. In an interview with Baseball Magazine, she said:
“I realize that my positions as the only woman owner in the major leagues is a peculiar one. And I don’t pretend to know the game as intimately from a playing standpoint as a man might do in my place. I appreciate the fact that baseball is a man’s game, but I also appreciate the fact that women are taking an increasing interest in the sport which I believe is a healthy and wholly commendable sign.”
Leaving a prediction for the team’s success to the its manager, Miller Huggins, Mrs. Britton acknowledged that team chemistry – and not free spending – would provide more beneficial results.
“The expenditure of a fortune may indeed procure high salaried stars,” she said. “But the experience of owners who have made the costly experiment has shown that teams composed of stars do not, as a usual thing, become pennant winners.”
In 1918, Britton sold the team and the ballpark to Sam Breadon, though she would later say she regretted doing so. Remarried and then widowed, Britton passed away in Philadelphia in 1950.
Matt Rothenberg is a freelance writer from Ossining, N.Y.