Unidentified Photographer, Victoria Plaza, 1921
Tyson & Son, Wamego, Kansas (Samuel E. Tyson [1845-1911] and Frank L. Tyson [1886-?]), [Two Baseball Players], ca. 1918
Opening Day of a new baseball season reminds us of the sometimes spectacular contributions to the sport made by women. Here are two great pictures of women’s baseball from earlier days of the sport. First, Victoria Plaza, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Passaic, New Jersey, mill worker who made the news in April 1921 with her no-hit game against the Rutherford, New Jersey, girl’s team. Then, we have a charming pair of female ballplayers from Wamego, Kansas, around 1918, ready to hit the diamond with new gloves and matching uniforms. In addition to such plucky amateurs, baseball has benefited from the contributions of women at every level from the barnstorming teams of the 1930s to the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), which was active from 1943 to 1954. Women have been active on every level of baseball from high school teams to Major League front offices. In its collection and exhibitions, the Baseball Hall of Fame has made a nod toward these contributions. And, just this past year, the Hall held a special symposium with four former professional players, and added the jersey of 13-year-old Chelsea Baker, who pitched two perfect games against boys Little League teams. Can the majors and Hall of Fame induction be far off for women?