In honor of Women’s History Month, the following post is a tribute to women in baseball.
Toni Stone was the successor to the roster spot left open on the Cleveland Clowns’ roster after Hank Aaron left the team and signed with the Boston Braves. More importantly, she was the first female player signed to a professional baseball contract that was not immediately voided shortly thereafter.
Bernice Gera grew up loving the game of baseball and attempted to become the first female umpire in professional baseball before she was denied entry by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues due to “failing to meet the physical requirements of the position”. She subsequently took the NAPBL to court and won, becoming the first female umpire when she worked in the New York-Penn League in 1972. Faced with rampant discrimination, Gera quit her position, but is forever a pioneer for women working in baseball.
More recently, Rachel Balkovec was named the manager of the Yankees’ low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons. This makes her the first female manager in affiliated baseball.
Amazing women have left their mark on the game, but they’re seldom celebrated within a game so willing to revere history. Despite having a storied past in baseball, there has been a clear inequity in the treatment, opportunity, and recognition bestowed upon women who have worked, played, and loved baseball as much as any of their male counterparts. The status quo has been breached with several milestones in recent years, as women have found opportunities at the highest level of the game. We’ve seen this on the field, in the broadcast booth, in the press box, and even in the front office. We hope this trend continues, particularly because we're still a long way from bridging this gender gap within the game we love.
This gap is apparent in the baseball lifestyle niche, where more products are generally made available to men than to women. It is obvious to us that there needs to be more baseball lifestyle gear for women, which is why Seameaded is actively trying to change that. We make virtually every design and product available to both men and women, and acknowledge that women are an important part of our own customer base, just as they are in baseball and the world we live in outside of the game.
From Effa Manley to Alyssa Nakken, or Linda Alvarado to Kim Ng, women continue to shape the game of baseball in significant ways, which is why they'll always be unmistakably important to the baseball lifestyle.