Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is a mans world, JHell58 returns to Skitz


I am gonna lay out one of my personal opinions that is often unpopular or disagreed with among those who I have shared it with in the past. I do this with some trepidation, which is a big word indeed. Some folks just disagree and thats fine, I feel that few minds are changed by arguments.

That being said, I digress into the topic at hand. If you decide to disagree, feel free to scroll on down to the bottom for the Biscuit stuff!

Women should be in pro baseball.

1921 ideal of womens physical ability
As players, not just front office or umpires or trainers or presidents or all of the other ways MLB currently lets women participate in the game of baseball. There is no reason why a woman with dedication and an opportunity to develop her own skill set should be kept from having the same chance to play as a guy.

Lately it is an idea that has been gaining a few supporters, though its detractors have stuck to the same arguments they have used for years - sounding alot like the media and inside-baseball guys that said a black man wouldn't be smart enough to manage at the major league level.

Vague generalizations amount to prejudice when applied based on race or skin tone. When they are applied to gender, its called chauvinism. Neither is acceptable in todays society.

Casey Candaele was a nine year veteran of the Astros, Expos and Indians. His career began in the mid 1980s and carried through the strike and into mid-1997 as a utility infielder and switch hitting replacement off the bench. Not a star by any means, his only appearance on MLB leaderboards is 9th place in the NL in triples in 1991 with seven.

Casey garnered four Rookie of the Year votes in 1987 and regularly played in 75 games or more a season in "The Show" along side some of the best players of that era. I think we can agree that this guy is major league quality, even in the steroid-laced years of the Bud Selig stewardship.

He didn't overwhelm me at the time, but people said something about his playing skills that surprised me and made me take notice.

His mom was even better.

Helen Callaghan
Known then as Helen Callaghan she was one of the best players in the womens league professionally, and the inspiration for a now-famous movie portraying the almost events of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Helen batted .287 in her rookie season, finished in the top three in the league in several batting stats, including homers. She would go on to be called the "Ted Williams of womens baseball".

She was that good.

Some other points I ran across in my cursory inspection of the history of baseball as concerns the "fairer sex" were less well known and came as complete surprises.

Bloomer Girls pitcher
A pair of teams consisting of women were paid for their games a full two years before the Cincinnati Redlegs would make waves by paying their players and *GASP* becoming professionals.

The Cinci Reds would have you believe they are the first professional team ever, anywhere, dating back to 1881. In fact the girls had beaten them to the bank, getting paid to play baseball as early as 1879.

Lizzie Arlington wore bloomers to pitch for the Reading Coal Heavers in 1898. She would appear in several contests as a pitcher and at second base in regular minor league games not just exhibitions.

The Hartford Courant said of Arlingtons play "It is said that she plays ball like a man and talks ball like a man and if it was not for her bloomers she would be taken for a man on the diamond, having none of the peculiarities of women ball players." 

Lizzie even spit on her hands and wiped them on her uniform!

Babe Didrickson
Famous sports figure Mildred "Babe" Didrikson pitched for the Cleveland Indians in an exhibition game in New Orleans vs the Pelicans and later against the Dodgers and others.

Known as the "Greatest Female Athlete" in her era, the Port Arthur native succeeds in just about every sport there is. She is voted the best female in sports at age 20, and again at age 42 and three other times in between for a total of five.

Didrikson was a gold medalist at the 1932 Olympics, breaking her own world record in 80 meter high hurdles and winning gold in the javelin toss. She settled for silver in high jump due to a judging decision on her headfirst jump style .

Didrikson could have won more medals at the LA Olympics of 1932, as she was entered into five events but women were restricted to just the three she appeared in.

As a side note to her amazing career, her list of world records include the longest throw of a baseball by a woman at 296 feet. She pitches various exhibitions against major and minor league teams, appearing with the Philly A's and StLouis Cards.

Versus the potent '34 Dodgers Didrikson allowed just one walk and a HBP in a single inning appearance, which was highlighted by a triple play. Before we assume the triple play saved her from giving up runs, its worth noting that the walk came after a bad 2-2 pitch called a ball by a rookie ump and the HBP was on a pitch the hitter had to lean into!

Jackie Mitchell
After her striking out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig became news, Commissioner Landis may have voided Jackie Mitchell's contract with the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts. Some say he did, some say he didn't, but either way she did not appear for the Lookouts again.

Mitchell would later pitch for the 1933 House of David barnstorming team, where she defeated the St.Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game.

Were the Babe and Lou tanking on purpose? Mitchell said of such accusations “Why, hell, they were trying, damn right! Hell, better hitters than them couldn’t hit me. Why should they’ve been any different?”
Struck out two thirds of Murderers Row and beat the Gas House Gang? Not bad!

Kitty Burke, Cinci Reds
During a lull in the 8th inning of a game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, singer/actress Kitty Burke came out of the crowd and picked up a bat, daring St.Louis pitcher Paul Dean to throw her a pitch.

The Cardinals hurler soft tossed her a fat pitch which she swung at, tapping out to first for a ground out and a roar of applause from the crowd.

Although the at bat wasn't official, it did take place in the middle of an inning, marking the first (unofficial) plate appearance by a woman in MLB.

Lizzie Murphy, barnstorming woman player, became the first person of any gender to play in the Major League All Star Game for both leagues, appearing at first base in 1922.  Murphy also played for Negro league teams and was the first woman to play for a MLB team in an exhibition game (with BoSox). Murphy had a successful 17 year career in baseball.

Women weren't banned from playing in Major and minor league baseball until 1952!

Ila Borders
Ila Borders, the first woman to start a professional game in modern history, touched 80 mph with her fastball.

Baker, TB Rays
Chelsea Baker recently tossed BP for the Rays as they were preparing to face R.A.Dickey.

She plunked Longoria. The high-schooler learned her knuckleball from Joe Niekro. Already I'm a fan!

Maud(e) Nelson
There are a TON more great role models for women in baseball - all to be admired for dedication as well as good play.

Toni Stone of the Negro leagues replaced Hank Aaron on the Clowns roster when the AAGPBL denied her based on race.

Maude Nelson scouted, managed, owned and played for her own team - earning her the label "greatest womens baseball figure" as she created baseball opportunities for women over 40 years in the game.

Alta Weiss, Myrtle Rowe, Ida Schnall and so many more great stories, perhaps a future blog post will have more space to revisit these inspiring women players!

I personally find it inexcusable that while Jackie is throwing the door open to the major leagues for black men, MLB owners are quietly shutting it on women.

I think that may be why I find it distasteful in some ways when teams tout their female executives, its not unlike showing how well behaved your best darkie is even though the only way he can get on the golf course is by carrying someone elses clubs.

Not to take away from the efforts of the hardworking women who have chosen their careers in baseball economics, its a tough job that I couldn't do.

But for everyone saying "oh praise us for having a woman league president" or ballyhooing where women have advanced to hold the positions of general manager and other front office jobs... that just amounts to the same thing - it means "You can't play with us but we will let you help us out in the office".

Those first five words? Yeah I'm not sure thats legal and the rest of the sentence certainly isn't equality.


Jeremy Hellickson wore a #30 Silver Surfer shirt to mow down the Wahoos, striking out 11 at the park by the bay in his return to the Biscuits rotation.

As expected the Biscuits placed Joey Rickard on the DL. No replacement yet, unless you count Hellickson, who isn't officially on a rehab assignment.

In a continuance of the usual Southern league internet presence, the Rickard move was not seen on the SL transactions page thru Tuesday morning in spite of it being listed on the Biscuits website via the roster link. Way to help a blogger out, SouLea webmaster!.

Ryan Brett is hitting his way onto the prospect list, Rotoworld.com ran a mention of his recent four hit game:

Cory Burns
Cleveland Indians scouts have been told to look at Rays minor leaguers, expect the stands at Riverwalk to be flush with Chief Wahoo's minions.

Cory Burns has indeed been handed the job of finishing the game for Bradys Boys. So far so good, excluding one bad game against the braves, Burns has been spotless in relief since his arrival. His headshot from MiLB was great, I had to include it!

This just in, Riccio Torres is still retired.

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