Women’s sports were a topic of one of the Club’s Landmark Leaders Speaker Series programs, and it was mentioned that far less effort goes into paying for and promoting women's sports than men’s sports. I watch baseball on TV and at moments it occurs to me that a few women could play on those major league teams. My idea got somewhat confirmed when I read that Virne Beatrice "Jackie" Mitchell pitched for a semi-professional team for three years before being hired in 1933 at age 19 by the major league, long gone team, House of David Nine. She earned $1,000 a month, equivalent in today’s finances to $17,500, but 1933 was still in the economic depression era in this country. Major league baseball now refers also to major dollars, in the millions rather than thousands. Mitchell’s best pitch was a curve ball, a strategy still admired now. She began learning when she at age 6 from a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Dazzy Vance, who tutored her and was a neighbor of her family in Tennessee. When she was first hired, a New York Times article mentioned that the pitcher’s parents “will chaperon her throughout her barnstorming tour in the East.”

—Jeanne McDonnell

 

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