Four Girls in Spring 1974: The First Foot-Soldiers of Female Inclusion in Little League Baseball

This article was written by Charlie Bevis

This article was published in Spring 2022 Baseball Research Journal


Another Pioneer in 1974

On June 23, 1974, Carolyn Yastrzemski was one of the first female players in the annual Father-Son Game at Fenway Park. Carolyn was the 5-year-old daughter of Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski.

The Father-Son Game had been a ritual staple of the Red Sox promotional calendar since the inaugural event in 1958, typically held on Father’s Day or another Sunday in June. During the 1960s, Carolyn’s older brother, Mike, was often the subject of newspaper photos from the game.

Coming less than two weeks after the announcement that girls would no longer be barred from Little League, Carolyn’s appearance on the Fenway Park field was newsworthy beyond Boston. A UPI photograph of Carolyn swinging a bat, with Red Sox catcher Bob Montgomery in the background, was reproduced in newspapers across the country.

The 1974 event was rechristened the Red Sox Fathers, Sons, & Daughters Game. “Yes, women’s liberation has reached the Fenway tots,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Ernie Roberts, previewing the upcoming event, noting “there will be 13 girls among the 37 kids participating.”

Rhode Island sports columnist Elliott Stein imagined a hypothetical post-game interview with Carolyn. In the satirical column “Yazette Proves a Clutch Hitter,” Stein interspersed serious baseball questions with ones geared to a child:

Stein: How did you do today, Carolyn?

Carolyn: Hit for the cycle…single, double, triple and home run. This game is a piece of cake.

Stein: You like cake?

Carolyn: What kid doesn’t? Make mine chocolate marble and put a big scoop of butterscotch ice cream on top.



For the actual photograph, see “Carolyn Yastrzemski Batting Photograph, 1974 June 23,” National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; for newspaper reproduction examples, see Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer, June 24, 1974, 44; Shenandoah (PA) Evening Herald, June 24, 1974, p. 15; Burlington (NC) Times-News, June 24, 1974, 40. Ernie Roberts quote from “What Is [TV Channel] 38 Without Bruins?” Boston Globe, June 23, 1974, 21. Elliott Stein quote from “Yazette Proves a Clutch Hitter,” Newport (RI) Daily News, June 25, 1974, 23.