Are Women Knocking On The Door Of Professional Baseball?
The words “Baseball For All” have a resounding significance for the likes of Justine Siegal, Mo’ne Davis, Chelsea Baker and Melissa Mayeux as they break barriers in the quest toward professional baseball. From the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) of the 40-50’s to the newly formed Dream Catchers Women’s Professional Baseball Club, there is no questioning that girls can play.
Women have made leaps and bounds over the past decade in an attempt to make their mark on the national pastime. Justine Siegal became the first female to throw batting practice to a major league team and this fall was the first female to be part of the coaching staff for a major league team. Siegal was added to the Oakland Athletics coaching contingent as a guest Instructor for the Fall Instructional League team. Siegal has been an influential trailblazer in promoting girls baseball through her Baseball For All website and is involved with the inaugural Dream Catchers team.
Melissa Mayeux made headlines earlier this year when the 16-year old from France was the first female ever added to the MLB International Registration List which made her eligible to sign a professional contract. The MLB Director of International Game Development Mike McClellan had high praise for Mayeux: “She’s a legitimate shortstop who makes all the plays and is very smooth and fluid in the field,” he said. “She swings the bat really well and is fearless.”
Knuckle-ball tossing pitcher Chelsea Baker went viral after she danced knuckle balls to Tampa Bay Rays slugger Evan Longoria during a light-hearted round of batting practice. Baker perfected her craft under the tutelage of the late Joe Niekro. Baker is currently a senior at Durant High School in Plant City, Florida and has numerous post-secondary offers to pursue including the Women’s Professional League in Japan.
Mo’ne Davis garnered national attention with her prowess on the bump during the Little League World Series. Davis appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and became an instant television sensation with interview requests from Jimmy Fallon among others. Davis became the first female to ever toss a shutout in the LLWS dominating some of the best male ball players in her age group from around the globe.
Women’s baseball was added to the Pan-Am Games for the first time in 2015 as the United States contingent defeated Team Canada north of the border. I had the opportunity to take in a few of the women’s games and needless to say was thoroughly impressed with the competition and talent level these girls possessed.
There is no doubt the time is near when a female is going to defy all odds and be drafted to the professional ranks. The question is which team’s brain-trust will have the fortitude to break the gender barrier.
In closing I offer my respective two cents: If someone can compete at the major league level, there should be “Baseball For All” no matter what gender the reverse of their baseball card reads.
Play Ball Girls!