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Vassar College Resolutes, 1866

Please note that this isn't a complete history of women's baseball. Rather, it's a timeline that points out important events and milestones in women's baseball. A lot more has happened, a lot of which relates to what is mentioned on the timeline, that isn't included. If there's anything else that should be added here, please let me know.

Women's Baseball Timeline

1866 — First organized women’s baseball teams in U.S. started at Vassar College

1867 — The Dolly Vardens of Philadelphia became the first professional black women’s team

1875 — The first women’s baseball game for which fans were charged and women players were paid was played between the Blondes and the Brunettes in Springfield, Illinois on September 11

1876 — The Resolutes, modeled after the Vassar College team, developed their own version of uniforms which included: long sleeved shirts with frilled high neckline, embroidered belts, wide floor length skirts, high button shoes and broad striped caps

1880 — A Smith College team was despaired after disproving mothers complained about the children playing the sport, saying it was not appropriate for women to play

1898 — Lizzie Arlington became the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract; she signed with the Philadelphia Reserves

1890s to 1935 — Women’s “Bloomer Girls” clubs barnstormed U.S. and played men’s town, semi-pro, and minor league teams; Bloomer teams had an average of 3 males on them; 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 be paid to umpire a baseball game; she umpired professionally for 6 years after that

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 to 1916 — 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 for a major league team in an exhibition game; she also became the 1st person, of either gender, to play for both the American League and National League in All-Star games

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

1931 — Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, back-to-back, in an exhibition game vs. the NY Yankees while playing for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts

1930s — The “Bold Years” for women’s baseball; women baseball players toured internationally, played junior baseball, and signed minor league contracts

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

1943 to 1954 — The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was started by Philip Wrigley, owner of Chicago Cubs and Wrigley's Chewing Gum

1944 — Dottie Wiltse pitched for the AAGPBL up until she was 6 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 Ricky Henderson is 2nd in stolen bases with 130 (1982)

1947 — The Racine Belles of the AAGPBL started the Junior Belles baseball program; 100 girls tried out and 60 were selected to play on 4 teams; the Grays, Greens, Reds, and Golds

1947 — Eulalia Gonzales became the first Cuban woman to play baseball in U.S.; played with the Racine Belles

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 — After 5 years of playing, the AAGBL (also known as the AAGPBL) starts throwing pitches overhand instead of underhand

1950 — Racine Belles and Junior Belles folded due to lack of money

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

1952 — George Trautman voided Eleanor Engle’s minor league contract with AA Harrisburg Senators

1952 — June 23, organized baseball banned women from the minor leagues; the ban remains in effect today

1955 — Bill Allington formed two women’s teams called Allington’s All-Stars which barnstormed the U.S. playing men’s town and semi-pro teams, like the Bloomer Girls did; lasted until 1957

1969 — Bernice Gera became the first woman to sign a professional umpire contract

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

1973 — Pawtucket Slaterettes became the first all-girls’ baseball league

1974 — Girls won the right to play baseball in Little League Baseball through Title IX

1976 — Christine Wren umpired in Class A Northwest League (minor leagues)

1977 to 1978 — Pam Postema umpired, with high marks, in the Rookie Gulf Coast League

1979 to 1980 — Pam Postema umpired in Class A Florida State League

1981 to 1982 — Pam Postema umpired in Class AA Texas League

1983 — Pam Postema moved up to Triple A Pacific Coast League

1984 — Bob Hope founded the Sun Sox, a Class A minor league all-women’s team; tried to enter the team into the Class A Florida State League; the league didn’t award Hope the franchise, because of male chauvenism; Henry “Hank” Aaron was the team’s Director of Player Personnel

1988 — 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); 6 players from the AWBA were extras in the movie “A League of Their Own”

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

1989 — Pam Postema was invited by baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti to umpire spring training games again

1989 — Bart Giamatti died; therefore, Pam Postema was released from umpiring in the minor leagues, and this ended her dream of umpiring in the major leagues; she umpired for 13 years in the minors

1989 — Julie Croteau became the first woman to play collegiate men’s varsity baseball; she did so 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” movie about the AAGPBL was produced by Penny Marshall

1993 — Sal Coats became the first woman to play in the MSBL World Series (Men’s Senior Baseball League)

1994 — Julie Croteau and Lee Anne Ketcham (Beanie Ketchum) (Colorado Silver Bullets players) joined the Maui Stingrays of the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League, becoming the first women to play in a Major League Baseball (MLB)-sanctioned league

1994 — Bob Hope formed and Coors Brewing Company sponsored the Colorado Silver Bullets women’s baseball team which played men’s college and minor league teams; team existed for 4 years

1994 — WNABA (Women's National Adult Baseball Association) 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; Ila also was the first woman to win a collegiate baseball scholarship

1995 — Julie Croteau becomes the first woman to coach baseball in a men's NCAA Division I baseball program; she was the assistant coach at University of Massachusetts-Amherst from 1995-1996

1998 — Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men’s pro game while pitching for the Duluth Dukes independent minor league team

1997 — Ladies League Baseball was formed by Mike Ribant, “a San Diego business man”; it became the first professional women’s baseball league since the AAGPBL; the San Jose Spitfires won the Championships that year over the Los Angeles Legends

1998 — After beginning its second season, the Ladies League Baseball expanded to 6 teams and goes nationwide, but folds shortly after “due to lack of attendance”

2000 — The American Women’s Baseball League (AWBL) took women’s baseball 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, Ontario, Canada; countries that participated were the U.S., Australia, Canada, 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 marks the first time in U.S. 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 was played in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from July 30 to August 8; the event was sanctioned by the International Baseball Association and Federation (IBAF) and was hosted by Baseball Canada

2004 — USA Baseball sanctioned the first official national women’s baseball team; the team competed in the 2004 WWS (in Japan) and in the 2004 Women’s World Cup of Baseball

2004 — John Kovach, manager of the South Bend Blue Sox Women’s Baseball Club, Director of the Great Lakes Women’s Baseball League, and AAU Women’s Baseball Youth Baseball Chair, worked out a proposal with Little League, Inc. to use the Michiana Girls’ Baseball League (a league that Kovach founded in 2002) as a model league to develop girls’ Little League baseball programs around the country; Little League started a boy’s softball program in 2000 because 500 boys were playing in Little League softball leagues around the U.S., but the organization failed to start a girls’ baseball program, when thousands of girls are playing baseball in Little League baseball leagues around the U.S.

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, 16 years old, becomes Japan's first professional female baseball player to play in a men's league by signing a professional contract with the Kobe 9 Cruise of a new Japanese independent league. Japan once had a female professional baseball federation in the 1950s.

2010 — Tiffany Brooks becomes the first woman in the U.S. to sign a pro baseball contract in the 21st Century; signed with the Big Bend Cowboys of the independent Continental Baseball League

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Comment by jimnemo on December 18, 2008 at 7:34am
I am curious about the quotes around certain phrases regarding Ladies League Baseball, "formed by Mike Ribant, 'a San Diego business man'" and as the league, "folds shortly after 'due to lack of attendance'"
Comment by Shawna Macurio on December 18, 2008 at 9:44am
I got most of the info to create this timeline from web sites. The things that are listed from the 2000's, I got from my own knowledge. So, the quotes were there when I copied the info. Perhaps you can do a search on it to find out more.
Comment by jimnemo on December 19, 2008 at 11:08pm
I have done a lot of web research and the results are not pretty... Since the information is not legally-official, I will not share specifics, here. But, if we for get the past we are destined to repeat it...
Comment by Norine aka A Real Live Pink Bat on March 27, 2009 at 2:11pm
Can you add my baseball history event. On April 15, 2007 I executed a rare 9-3 double play with the help of my teammate Steve Johnston. We lost the game 14-0 but we made baseball history in the MSBL (Mens Senior Baseball League) for having a woman do that in it's 20 year existence. Here is the link to the article that Hardball Magazine has posted to its website about it. MSBL President Steve Sigler approved it for the record books. Read the whole thing first. We did it on the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in MLB. Making women's history on a very historical Major League Baseball day. IT'S A SIGN I TELL YOU! God I love saying that but it's so true. It just seems like everytime I do something special in baseball there is an awesome baseball sign of divine intervention approval that goes with it.
Comment by Arizona Cactus Wrens Women's Baseball Club on May 10, 2009 at 12:51am
What do you want to know about Ribant and the Ladies League Baseball fiasco? I can tell you the "legally-official" version if you really want to hear it.
Comment by Shawna Macurio on May 10, 2009 at 10:25pm
I'll add your event, Norine. I hadn't checked comments for this blog for a long time.


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