Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Girl Who...
In these last warm days, I've been going out to see the Yankees a lot. In fact, I'm going tonight. At the game, my baseball buddies throw statistics and player stories back and forth. I have my particular favorite. If you want to stump most fans ask them if they know the name of Jackie Mitchell.
In 1931, the New York Yankees stopped in Chattanooga for an exhibition game. It was a huge event due to the appearance of "Murderers Row". Fans, reporters and photographers all turned up. Jackie Mitchell stepped up on to the mound to face the first batter, the "Sultan of Swat," Babe Ruth! A neophyte player with only 1 pitch, a "sinker," Mitchell used it to good effect. Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back to back. Ruth was especially angry at the strike out and threw his bat around etc.
The next day Baseball Commissioner Landis banned Miller from playing pro ball. It was big news in the New York Times even back then in 1931. Why did all this happen? Because Jackie Mitchell was female.
Jackie continued her career anyway, pitching in exhibition games and in 1933, she signed on with the House of David, who were characterized by long hair and beards. Mitchell stayed with them until 1937, but eventually became disenchanted. Who wants to play an inning while pitching on the back of a donkey? She quit at the age of 23.
She's my baseball hero. Now where's my Jackie Mitchell baseball card?