Throughout my childhood, whenever anyone would ask me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I would respond “a professional baseball player.” My dad shared his love of baseball with me and taught me all about the game. When it was time to sign up for Little League, I was devastated to find out I had to play softball; girls were not allowed to play baseball. But my hopes were lifted when I saw A League of Their Own, in which Tom Hanks’ character declares: “there’s no crying in baseball.” It was the first glimmer of hope that maybe there was hope for my dream of becoming a professional baseball player.
Obviously, I’ve moved on to other things, but I’m still a baseball phanatic. But young girls who have a similar dream now have a new role model who is a bit better than Tom Hanks. Yesterday, Justine Siegal was the first woman to pitch batting practice to a major league team. She pitched to a few batters of the Cleveland Indians and is due to pitch on Wednesday to the Oakland Athletics. This isn’t the first time Siegal has paved the way for women in baseball — she was the first female coach of a professional baseball team, the Brockton Rox.
When she took the mound yesterday, Siegal donned an Indians jersey with a patch in memory of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was killed in the January 8th shootings in Tucson. Christina was a lover of baseball and the only girl on her Little League team. Now her memory can live on in the majors.
Siegal’s got some other great projects to open up baseball for everyone, including a nonprofit called Baseball for All.
Look for her on the mound tomorrow as she faces batters from the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona.
This post is brought to you by Laura.